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COPPELL, TX-ML Realty Partners has acquired a 166,704-sf warehouse in a sale-leaseback that jumpstarts a plan to build a $100-million industrial portfolio in Texas. The first deed for the pool cost more than $5 million, but the Chicago-based investment group is in the best and final for larger assets in Dallas and eying one with a $50-million tag in Houston.

In a 70-day spin, ML Realty took the deed to 100 S. Royal Lane from an affiliate of Stone Panels Inc. in an all-cash deal for its headquarters location, says Ron Carey, regional vice president who recently left the Dallas office of Chicago-based First Industrial Trust to oversee the buying spree. “There’s a high likelihood they’ll continue to stay in that building,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “They’ve got a very significant capital investment in the building. We’re fairly confident they’ll stay.”

Carey says the 13-year-old warehouse is positioned in such a way on the near nine-acre tract that it could easily be converted into a cross-dock facility, if needed. Peter Harmon in ML Realty’s Chicago headquarters negotiated the acquisition with Carey coming in on the tail end about a month ago, joining the firm as it opened its Dallas office. James Hancock with CMC Commercial Realty Group in Dallas put the deal before the buyer. John Gilbert, managing partner for Gilbert Commercial, also in Dallas, was marketing the asset for the Stone Panels’ affiliate. ML Realty has hired CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s local office to manage the property.

With one deal done, Carey says ML Realty has made the “best and final” for two properties in the $7-million to $8-million range in Dallas and is “looking” at a $50-million, single-tenant deal in Houston. “At the end of the day, we’re looking for just good functional real estate,” he stresses, “meat-and-potatoes real estate that works for the submarket.” ML Realty’s buying clout carries a 21-day due diligence and five-day close which, Carey says, clearly will help to win deals as the year draws to a close.

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