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HILLSBORO, OR-Mike Kalberer doesn’t know exactly what he’s going to do with it yet, but he likes the price. The owner of Portland-based Kalberer Co. recently acquired a flat six-acre parcel in the Sunset Corridor for $2.80 per sf. The already discounted asking price for the ready-to-build site was $4.25 per sf.The property is located off exit 62 from Highway 26, near the intersection of Northwest Jacobson and Shute roads. The previous owner, Solectron USA Inc. of Milpitas, CA, assumed ownership of the land in 2001 when it acquired Shinei International, an electro-mechanical services provider. Shinei had acquired a 10-acre parcel but ultimately used only four acres for a manufacturing plant it completed in 1997. When Solectron deemed the excess land surplus, it hired broker Mark Childs of Integrated Corporate property Services to find a buyer. After attracting no interest at an asking price of closer to $5 per sf, Childs tells GlobeSt.com the price was lowered to $4.25 per sf. However, with vacancy at 30% in the Sunset Corridor’s 4.7-million-sf class A flex-office market and existing buildings selling for below replacement cost, apparently no user was interested in paying anything close to market rate for a clean, flat parcel adjacent to Credence Corp.”I went out and talked to a lot of people; everyone out there knew about it,” says Childs. “Apparently no one has a need for six acres out there.”Meanwhile, Kalberer, an investor, was looking for somewhere to park some 1031 Exchange money. Kalberer tells GlobeSt.com that buying vacant land he doesn’t plan to use himself isn’t something he has done before, but good income-producing properties are hard to find these days and his exchange deadline was drawing nigh. Moreover, the price was right.”If you buy that land at even $4 per sf, you pretty much have to build office space; and you certainly can‘t afford to sit on the land and sell it two years later for $5 per sf,” Kalberer’s broker Craig Kelly of Venerable Properties tells GlobeSt.com. “So our thought was we needed to buy it at a price point where it can be vacant and have no use for some period of time, and then at some point do a build-to-suit or sell it to another party that has a user for it.”At $2.80 per sf, Kalberer gains not only time but also flexibility, as the low land cost means the site could be profitable as a warehouse as well as a class A flex-office development. “This is one of those things that only time will tell,” says Kalberer. “We’re just hoping we bought at the bottom of the market and that prices will go back up over the next few years; we’re looking at it for maybe a five-year hold.”Aside from this sale, land in the Sunset Corridor has sold for between $4.25 per sf and $5.25 per sf, according to sales data on Costar. Brad Fletcher, industrial broker and managing director of Grubb & Ellis in Portland, tells GlobeSt.com the sale is not so much a reflection of where the land market is going, but rather where it has been due to the high vacancy in existing class A flex buildings.”It’s a great value for a good property, but it is not indicative of where the market is headed; it was a wholesale corporate disposition; a decision had been made to sell and in many such cases a corporation will to look at non-traditional values,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “I think it’s more indicative of where we’ve been over the past three years; you will see more of this in the corridor, but you will also see a return to improved values over the next few quarters. There’s only so much land.”

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