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SALEM, OR-The 242,000-sf State Farm’s Salem Operations Center here has changed hands for $11.55 million or $47.72 per sf. The 29.5-acre property holds one single-story building containing 211,000 sf of office and 31,000 sf of warehouse space.

The seller, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., will leaseback approximately 130,000 sf on a short-term basis. The new owner, an investor group led by Seattle-based Meriwether Partners, has renamed the development Capitol City Business Center.

Meriwether Partners principal Robert Briscoe says the condition of the building, the fact that it’s one of the largest blocks of single-story office space in the Northwest and the strength of the Salem-area workforce has him optimistic about re-leasing the building.

Briscoe tells that significant base upgrades are planned, including new lighting, more natural lighting and an HVAC upgrade. The full-service asking lease rate is $17 per sf per year, though given the purchase price a single tenant taking the whole building likely could negotiate a solid discount.

“We expect to have a lot of activity over time with call centers and possibly some municipal and state users,” says Briscoe, knowing that Salem is the state capital of Oregon, and Wachovia and T Mobile both have entered the market in recent years with large call centers. “We will certainly be able to compete very aggressively for new tenants entering the market.”

The new owner has hired locally based Curt Arthur of Mountain West Coldwell Banker Commercial to lease the facility. The property will be managed by the Portland office of GVA Kidder Mathews. State Farm was represented by Marc Renard and Tom Usher of Cushman & Wakefield.

In addition to Briscoe, Meriwether includes Robert C. MacAulay, Joel Aslanian and David Rothrock. Established in 2002, the company acquires value-added office, retail, industrial and hotel properties throughout the Northwest and assists clients in leasing, selling and financing commercial real estate.

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