AUSTIN, TX-In its continued goal toward a $150 million investment in Texas throughout 2006, Equastone of San Diego has acquired a 436,190-sf office/flex portfolio from an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. in New York City. Equastone plans to invest upward of $6.5 million in capital improvements and repositioning. The final price on this transaction could not be obtained by press time.The class B portfolio, with an average age of 15 years, includes the 254,705-sf Northview Business Center at 9001 Interstate 35; the two-building, 96,950-sf Summit Park at 14046-14050 Summit Dr.; the 34,514-sf Southeast Commercial at 4120 Commercial Center Dr.; and the 50,021-sf Cameron Creek at 9210 Cameron Rd. Northview’s occupancy was at 100% at time of acquisition, with Summit Park at 43%; Southeast Commercial Center at 74% and Cameron Creek at 50%.”The Austin portfolio is a classic value-add opportunity,” said Jeff Schindler, Equastone Chief Investment Officer in a prepared statement. “The purchase price was low because there is significant lease rollover at Northview and vacancy at the other properties.” Max Moss and Lance Sallis of Trammell Crow Co.’s Austin office will provide leasing services. Trammell Crow will also manage the buildings.An Equastone source tells GlobeSt.com that plans call for immediate improvement and lease-up, then quick disposition of all four buildings, which will be sold separately. “Cameron Creek and Southeast Commercial will provide more opportunity in a shorter time frame and less work overall, so we’ll probably slip those out right around a year or 18 months,” he says. Summit Park and Northview will require a little more time and investment, and could be turned around within the next 2-3 years, the source adds.The Austin portfolio follows on the heels of Equastone’s acquisition of Tetco Tower and One International Centre in San Antonio, TX, totaling 550,000 sf. “Texas is currently one of our favorite investment markets,” Schindler said. “Office and flex properties are available at reasonable prices and there is strong job growth so vacancy rates are falling.

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