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PORTLAND-Seattle-based Unico Properties has completed its recapitalization of US Bancorp Tower, Oregon’s largest office building. In a deal GlobeSt.com first reported back in July, Menlo Park, CA-based Broadreach Capital Partners has taken out Unico’s former 50-50 partner in the asset as well as one of the lenders to gain a 75% interest in the 1.1-million-sf signature office building.In addition to taking out JP Morgan’s 50% interest US Bancorp Tower, Broadreach put in additional cash in order to take out one of the lenders on the asset, Wafra Investment Advisory Group, Inc., a US-registered investment adviser that is beneficially owned by The Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait, an autonomous agency controlled by the State of Kuwait. As it now stands, Broadreach has a $37.2 million equity position in the building, Unico has a $13-million position and the remaining $135 million is debt held by Cigna.The deal values the building, which is 92.5% occupied, at $185 million, or about 7% more than Unico and JP Morgan paid in 2000, a year most considered to be the top of the market. Local real estate sources tell GlobeSt.com the deal shows how low interest rates and heavy competition for trophy assets have helped increase property values during a down economy.”The market’s gotten higher,” Unico executive vice president John Lamb told GlobeSt.com in July. “People look back at 2000-2001 as the high point, but when the general stock market started to fall and institutions began looking at different ways to invest their real estate-earmarked funds, there became a lot of competition for trophy assets, such that you can now attract buyers that drive down cap rates lower than 2000-2001.”Broadreach is the real estate private equity firm formed in early 2002 by Ned Spieker, John Foster, Eli Khouri and Craig Vought, four former top executives of Spieker Properties, which merged with Equity office Properties in a 2001 transaction that valued Spieker at more than $7 billion. The Broadreach team also includes director Trevor Wilson, who previously handled JP Morgan’s acquisition and asset management activities in the Western US and was intimately involved in JP Morgan’s acquisition of US Bancorp Tower. Unico’s core business has been its partnership with the University of Washington, wherein it has operated and managed for 53 years the university’s Metropolitan Tract, a 10-acre chunk of prime real estate in Downtown Seattle that includes Rainier Tower, Puget Sound Plaza, Financial Center, IBM Building, the Skinner Building and the Cobb Building, which is now being converted from office to residential. With its partnership set to expire in 2014, Unico has been making investments outside of the partnership to ensure itself a future if it does not retain the contract. In addition to US Bancorp Tower, Unico also recently recapitalized its Skyline Tower office building in Bellevue, WA. Transwestern Investment Co.’s institutional investment fund, Aslan Realty Partners II LP, acquired an 80% stake in the 408,000-sf Skyline Tower office building here for an undisclosed price. The interest was acquired from Wafra, Citigroup North America Inc. and Seattle-based Unico Properties, which jointly acquired the building in 1998 for $89 million, or about $222 per sf. Aslan Realty Partners II LP acquired all of the interests held by Wafra and Citigroup, which totaled about 50%, and acquired the other 30% from Unico, which had held a 50% interest. Unico principal John Bliss tells GlobeSt.com that Wafra and Citigroup decided to sell because they were at “the end of their investment horizon” and it was the right time to sell. Skyline Tower is a 24-story office building in the Bellevue CBD that is currently 94% occupied. Unlike US Bancorp Tower, the transaction did not include a refinance of the debt on the property, held by GE Capital, because the prepayment penalty is too steep, says Bliss. The loan matures in 2008.

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