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DALLAS-Picking up a play for a fallen-out contract, Hartman Commercial Properties REIT has acquired the 253,981-sf Amberton Tower from Aslan Investment Fund, led by Chicago-based Transwestern Investment Services. According to SEC documents, the exchange went down for $16.95 million plus closing costs.

“I got what I wanted for the price I wanted,” John Crossin, chief investment officer for the Houston-based REIT, tells GlobeSt.com. “We think it’s a very excellent purchase.” The 12-story office building at 4144 N. Central Expressway has been on the market since mid-March along with Aslan’s only other holding in Dallas, the 224,879-sf Concourse Office Park at 6310-90 LBJ Freeway.

Crossin says the 35 to 40 leases in the class B-plus office building are “very spread out over the next four years.” The SEC filing shows the annual base rent is slightly more than $3 million. As for the pro forma, he says the empty space, roughly 32,000 sf, will come to market for $15 per sf and most likely a tenant-improvement stipend of $10 per sf. The going rate in the submarket is $17 per sf to $17.50 per sf. As always, Hartman will lease and manage the building, set on nearly three acres within eyeshot of the freeway.

Crossin says the leasing prospects are good: Transwestern brokers have “three or four” prospects to bring to the table plus some existing tenants are talking about expansions. The 75%-leased Amberton Tower’s lead tenants are Brockette/Davis/Drake Inc. and US Oncology. The engineering firm leases 21,000 sf under stair-stepped terms that expire April 20, 2011 while the healthcare network’s headquarters fills 19,000 sf in an escalating lease through Dec. 31, 2008.

Crossin says Hartman picked up the deal after another contract fell out although he was told there were seven other would-be buyers in line for Amberton Tower, built in 1982 and renovated in 1993. “I love the building and the location,” he says, adding he figures it’s close enough to Uptown and Turtle Creek that the leasing team can draw on its neighbors’ synergies.

Transwestern’s Steve Simon represented Aslan while Crossin and Hartman’s Dave Wheeler negotiated the takeover terms for the REIT’s fourth acquisition in Dallas in two years. Crossin says he’s not holding any more contracts, but there’s still time for an end-of-the-year deal, just like the REIT’s done for three consecutive years by jumping on sales with less than 30 days before the clock ran out.

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