LAFAYETTE, CA-Bedford Property Investors disposed of eight buildings this month for a combined sale price of $127 million, netting itself a GAAP gain of $50 million. Six of the properties are in Northern California and two are in Seattle, WA.The latest transaction was a 120,157-sf warehouse at 901 Kaiser Rd. in Napa, CA, that was sold for about $9.8 million. Over the past 10 days, the company also has announced the sale of a 297,228-sf two-building office complex in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood for $65.75 million; the 67,869-sf Parkpoint Business Center in Santa Rosa, CA, for $10.3 million, and; four warehouse properties totaling 280,302 sf in South San Francisco for $41 million.The locally headquartered REIT has said little about the transactions, providing the sale price, size and location of the assets but omitting the name of the buyer, vacancy rate and major tenants. Bedford SVP tells the omissions are at the request of the buyers. Other than that, all the company is providing is the same canned quote from its chief executive. “These properties have performed well for us during our period of ownership,” Peter Bedford states in all four announcements. In late September, Bedford said he is evaluating the company’s “strategic alternatives” including the potential sale or merger of our company. Another option was the sale of certain of its 100 or so buildings, the proceeds from which would either be reinvested or doled out as dividends. “We are fielding inquiries to purchase a number of our properties…,” the company states in a November SEC filing. “We are also reviewing inquiries and indications of interest for the sale of the entire company.”The questions not being answered this month are whether the spate of sales are in preparation for the sale of the entire company, part of a plan to sell off the company’s portfolio piecemeal or simply one-off sales, and whether proceeds will be reinvested or distributed to shareholders. If a portfolio sale is in the offing, it may have to be heavily discounted because leases representing approximately 50% of Bedford’s total annualized base rent are scheduled to expire over the next three years, according to the SEC filing. As for Bedford’s opinion of the Bay Area market where it shed the greatest number of properties this month, it describes the South San Francisco industrial market as one that has demonstrated weakness during the last two years. “In this sub-market, we have faced declines in rental rates on renewals and an increase in the vacancy rate of our five-building portfolio from 1% at the end of 2002 to 24% at the end of 2003,” according to the filing. “In 2004, this sub-market showed some improvement, and we were able to reduce our vacancy rate to 16% at September 30, 2004. However, weak demand and a surplus of space continue to create a depressed market.”

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