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MIAMI-Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust has entered South Florida with the opening of an office here and two initial acquisitions encompassing a potential of 424,000 sf. Jeremy Shapiro, a Florida native with 27 years of industry experience here, most recently as director of development and VP at Coral Gables-based Codina Development Co., has been named First Industrial’s South Florida regional director.

Shapiro tells GlobeSt.com, “We don’t have a limit on investment here. The problem is finding deals in a saturated market, not funding.” The company’s initial acquisitions here are funded by FirstCal, a $950-million JV with CalSTERS, and Shapiro says, “in addition to FirstCal, we have other sources–deep, deep pockets–of available funding to be invested, depending on the type of product and the exit strategy. Finding deals that make sense is the challenge.” He says his search includes existing buildings, buildings for repositioning, land, and “we especially like sale-leasebacks.”

The initial acquisition is a 268,000-sf facility in Medley. Shapiro declined to disclose the price. On condition of anonymity, sources familiar with industrial buildings in that submarket tell GlobeSt.com the price was probably in the $60-per-sf range. Shapiro says the current full-building tenant is vacating, and the asking rental rate is $6.75 per sf, industrial gross.

The company also acquired an eight-acre site in Flagler Station Business Park, which Shapiro says is “fully entitled and developable–ready to go” for development of up to 156,000 sf. The seller is a local investor with other land in the park. Again, Shapiro declined to disclose the land price, but says, “generically, prices for land here are between $10 per sf and $15 per sf.” GlobeSt.com’s source says this land “probably was near the upper reaches,” and estimates the total price tag at “approximately $5 million.”

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