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ARLINGTON, TX-In back-to-back acquisitions, a Dallas investment group has pumped close to $30 million into Arlington properties. The lion’s share of the tab has rolled the deed to 353,555 sf and 11 vacant acres in Westway Business Center.

Americo Real Estate Ltd. acquired eight of Westway’s nine buildings from Des Moines-based Principal Financial Group in a no-ask, competitive bidding steered by the CB Richard Ellis Inc. team of Jack Fraker, Randy Baird and Jon Robinson. The deed changed hands “in the high $20-million range,” Shane Clark, Americo’s senior vice president, tells GlobeSt.com. A 139,445-sf building at 4300 Senterway Place, leased to the Hartford-based Aetna Life Insurance Co., wasn’t included in the sale.

Clark says there are no immediate plans to develop the Interstate 20-fronting vacant acreage, a high-demand item that’s rapidly disappearing along the freeway. But. the acquisition is primed with upside because the buildings are only 84% leased, he says, citing a pipeline with 25,000 sf in the final stages of negotiation. “We can create a lot of upside momentum with the lease-up of the vacancy,” he adds.

Clark, who spent several years working the Great Southwest submarket, says Westway contains 23 tenants, of which less than 10% of their leases roll in the next two years. The weighted average quote is $6 per sf for the class A and B cluster of distribution, flex and pure office space. Trammell Crow Co. will continue to lease the park; Americo will take over property management.

Shortly before the sale closed, Tom Dodge with Trammell Crow Co. got final signatures on an eight-year lease for 49,447 sf of class A shell space with LandAmerica Commonwealth Title of Dallas Inc., American Title Co. and LandAmerica Commonwealth Title of Fort Worth Inc. In September, the trio plans to open a title plant for accounting, document storage and imaging at 220 Westway Dr. The title companies, represented by Greg Langston with Dillon Corporate Services in Dallas, took dibs on the balance of the 69,104-sf Westway 8 with the deal, Dodge says.

Dino Bazianos, vice president of corporate real estate for Richmond, VA-based LandAmerica Financial Group Inc., says the operation at 505 Pecan St. in Fort Worth will be moved in September while the Mesquite office at 2409 Gus Thomasson Rd. will stay put until September 2006. He says the moves will coincide with lease expirations.

Mark McClure with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s Dallas office arranged a 10-year loan with a 5.08% fixed-rate interest for Americo to close the deal, according to Clark. The structures, sitting on 23 acres, rose between 1984 and 2001.

Americo’s push into Arlington included a $2-million sale-leaseback of an 81,400-sf distribution center at 700 106th St. Clark says Hardwoods Specialty Products signed a 10-year lease when it turned over the deed. Michael Stanzel with the Robert Lynn Co. in Dallas represented the seller.

“We are actively seeking acquisition opportunities,” Clark says. The preference is class A flex or industrial product in the $10-million to $50-million category.

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