NORCROSS, GA-After a year on the market, part of a prime 170-acre tract at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85 owned by OFS Brightwave is under contract. Preferred Real Estate Investments of Conshohocken, PA plans to close on a 75-acre tract by September.

A Preferred spokesman declined to disclose the contract price. “Not at this time,” he tells OFS has been trying to sell off 110 acres since February 2005, as previously reported. Industrial brokers in Norcross, 10 miles north of Downtown Atlanta, told at that time the entire 110-acre tract could generate a price of $50 million to $100 million.

Preferred plans to subdivide the 75 acres and develop the dirt to its best and highest use, the company says in a prepared statement. The acquisition is Preferred’s first in metro Atlanta. “As we expand into the Atlanta market, this is an important benchmark for our company,” says Michael G. O’Neill, Preferred’s founder and CEO.

O’Neill hints he is planning a major project on the 75 acres. “We believe that this development will fill a hole in the local economy, creating new jobs and providing much-needed commercial redevelopment in the area,” says the Preferred chief. “This development is the epitome of Preferred’s vision-transforming overlooked, under-utilized facilities into one-of-a-kind, mixed-use properties designed to create value and economic opportunity.”

OFS is the US division of Tokyo-based Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. and the former optical fiber solutions division of Lucent Technologies Inc. OFS sources previously told the company wants to keep at least 60 acres of the entire 170-acre campus for itself.

“The sale of this land in Norcross will, in no way, disrupt our fiber production or our high level of customer service,” OFS chairman and CEO Jack Murota says in the Preferred statement. “We continue to have all the flexibility needed to expand production in the future as our customers require it.”

Murota says the deal with Preferred was done because OFS “chose to work with Preferred, based on their experience in bringing value to communities and developing land to co-exist with job-producing high-technology manufacturing operations such as ours.”

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