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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-CRT Properties Inc. acquired two class A office buildings here, 350 Las Olas and 450 Las Olas, in a transaction that is both the largest office real estate transaction Downtown and the highest price paid per sf. According to its SEC filing, the Boca Raton-based REIT, which changed its name from Koger Equity Inc. this summer, paid $138 million, or a little more than $294 per sf, for the properties, which aggregate 469,000 sf.

Jeff Holding, managing director of the local CB Richard Ellis office, tells GlobeSt.com, “this is by far the biggest deal and the highest price ever paid here.” He said previous sales of Downtown office space were in the $180-per-sf range. “For a long-term owner, the price is justified,” he adds. “There’s no more developable land in that area, and the buildings have an attractive revenue stream. It’s Christmas.”

The 18- and 14-story buildings at 350 and 450 East Las Olas Blvd. were built in 1999 and 1996, respectively. They are 87% occupied to what CRT described in a statement as “a diverse roster of national, regional and local tenants.” Holding says the average rental rate in the buildings is $19-per-sf, triple-net, “which is top of the market.”

CRT acquired the properties through the purchase of partnership interests from East Las Olas Investors II, WLD Realty Ltd. and Halmos Holdings, all unrelated third parties. It is funding the purchase with proceeds from a $99-million, non-recourse first mortgage and its existing line of credit. Dan Carlo, senior managing director, and Danny Finkle, director, in the Miami office of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, represented the seller.

Thomas J. Crocker, CRT’s CEO, says in a statement, “the acquisition of these two class A buildings complements our strategic investment philosophy of investing in properties with ‘suburban in-fill’ characteristics.” Calling the location “arguably the most supply-constrained submarket in South Florida,” he says, “the area is benefiting dramatically from the emergence of a strong retail amenity base in response to the recent boom in high-end residential construction.” He predicted the properties’ “quality and location will drive rent growth in the future.”

This is CRT’s second acquisition here this year. In January, in joint venture with an affiliate of New York-based Investcorp Properties Ltd., it acquired the 324,000-sf Broward Financial Centre for $60.1 million, or just over $185 per sf.

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