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JENKINTOWN, PA-American Financial Realty Trust will acquire a three-building, 700,000-sf class A office complex on 64 acres for approximately $283 million, which, excluding the acreage, puts the building price tag at about $404.29 per sf. It will lease the property, a bank company’s headquarters, back to the financial firm described only as an institution with an A rating from Standard & Poor’s. “At the request of the tenant, no further information will be shared prior to closing,” an AFR spokesman tells GlobeSt.com, adding, “I can tell you it is out west.”

The agreement comes under AFR’s “Landlord of Choice” program, initiated in April 2004. Under this program, the locally based financial specialty REIT agrees to acquire properties that are being developed, primarily as build-to-suits, preleased to a financial institution. On completion, AFR acquires the property and leases it back to the institution.

This facility will be 100% leased to the bank on a long-term net lease basis. The transaction is expected to close by the middle of this month, at which time the bank’s identity, along with the location and the name of the developer will be disclosed. AFR is financing the acquisition with a long-term mortgage financing commitment and from funds generated from its recent equity offering.

In past “Landlord of Choice” agreements, the tenant’s rental rate is based on a percentage of AFR’s gross purchase price. When the program was launched, Nicholas Schorsch, AFR’s president and CEO, said it allows the REIT’s best customers to select AFR as their landlord in advance of development of a new property.

Citigroup entered into such an agreement in April 2004 for three build-to-suits aggregating 531,000 sf, split nearly evenly at sites in Louisville, KY, Greensboro, NC and Boise, ID. The acquisition took place when the buildings reached completion this January. AFR paid a total of approximately $89 million, or about $168 per sf.

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