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ATLANTA-In a heated bidding battle with 20 other buyers, San Clemente, CA-based Argus Realty Investors LP has acquired the three-building, 392,885-sf Powers Landing East office property for $66.6 million, or $169.51 per sf, from the Realty Associates Fund V of Boston.

“When you’re within striking distance of other bidders, what separates you from the competition is your ability to close on time or sooner at the contracted price and all other terms and conditions of the deal,” Paul Gaines, Argus Realty’s vice president of acquisitions in the Southeast, tells GlobeSt.com. “We said we would complete our due diligence on Powers Ferry in 21 days and we did it in 21 days, with no retrading, that is, haggling to get a lower price.”

Gaines adds, “The sale contract called for a Nov. 27 closing and we closed prior to the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 22. That gives the broker and seller confidence you can and will perform as promised–now and on future transactions.”

Will Yowell, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Institutional Investment Properties Group in Atlanta, negotiated for the seller. Argus Realty represented itself. Yowell tells GlobeSt.com his client selected Argus among the 20 institutional buyers because of “its history of quick, smooth, on-time closings.” CBRE vice president Jay O’Meara and broker Justin Parsonnet worked with Yowell on the deal.

The three six-floor, steel and glass office properties, located on 25 wooded acres along the Chattahoochee River, average 95.1% leased. The 6201 Powers Ferry Landing Rd. building, with 124,083 sf, is 100% leased. Its architectural twin at 6151 Powers Ferry Landing Rd., with 121,883 sf, is 87.7% leased, while the 146,919-sf building at 6190 Powers Ferry Landing Rd. is 97% leased.

Chicago-based LaSalle Bank is providing Argus with a seven-year, $50-million loan fixed at 5.85%, with interest only for the first four years. Bill Tyler, director in the Atlanta office of CB Richard Ellis Inc./L.J. Melody & Co., placed the loan. Major tenants include Jefferson-Pilot Financial Corp., Xerox, First Data Corp., Primedia and Aimco. The buildings have full open floors averaging from 21,050 sf to 25,000 sf. All have five parking spaces per 1,000 sf of leased space.

Argus has retained Jones Lang LaSalle, property managers for Powers Ferry Landing East since 1997. JLL will have an office on the property. Jeff Franz has been named on-site leasing agent. Megan Mathews is property manager. Argus chairman and CEO Dick Gee says “51% of Powers Landing East is leased to Fortune 500 companies,” providing Argus with “a stable quality income stream and potential for appreciation.”

Gaines tells GlobeSt.com that although Powers Ferry Landing East could be classified as a B-plus or A-minus office property, “the properties today couldn’t be replaced for less than $200 per sf because of their prime location.”

He adds, “These 20-year-old properties have historically attracted and retained extremely selective tenants because of their location and their like-new condition. They were built and were continuously owned by institutional investors who have a mindset on the importance of constant maintenance.” Gaines says the seller “spent generously on keeping these buildings well maintained and fine tuned.”

Argus recently acquired Barrett Office Park in Atlanta through the same CB Richard Ellis office. The company is looking for other acquisitions here. “Atlanta is a turn-around city that is gaining momentum, but traffic isn’t thinning and employees want to shorten and simplify their commutes,” Argus president Tim Snodgrass tells GlobeSt.com. “That’s why we will only buy class A locations.”

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