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DALLAS-Cobalt Industrial REIT has reined in nearly five million sf in a whirlwind $200-million buying spree in Chicago, Greater Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis and its homeport of Dallas/Fort Worth. The deeds were collected in four transactions in less than a month’s time.

“It’s been pretty busy,” says Lewis D. Friedland, managing partner for Cobalt Capital Partners. He tells GlobeSt.com that the dealmaking has delivered 42 buildings, overwhelmingly multi-tenant with occupancies of 95% or more for the REIT and its San Antonio-based lead sponsor, USAA Real Estate Co. The anticipated hold, he says, is five to seven years.

The largest takedown was a 3.3-million-sf portfolio from Boston-based TA Associates Inc. The closing added 1.4 million sf in Dallas/Fort Worth, 1.7 million sf in the Kansas City metroplex and a 250,000-sf structure in St. Louis. TA Associates had CB Richard Ellis teams in charge of the sale: Michael Caprile, Ted Staszak and Stephanie Park in Chicago; Jack Fraker, Randy Baird and John Robinson in Dallas; David Hinchman in Kansas City; and Brian Bush in St. Louis.

The Cobalt REIT picked up a one-million-sf, nine-building portfolio in Chicago from a local player, ML Realty Partners LLC. CBRE’s Caprile-Staszak-Park team handled the sale.

In Houston, the REIT pocketed deeds to a 430,000-sf, six-building package in two projects. ING Clarion, with headquarters offices in Dallas and New York City, had the Trammell Crow Co. team of Rusty Tamlyn and Ralph Tullier running its deal.

The loner in the buying spree is a 150,000-sf building at 1255 Champion Circle, which is fully leased to Tuscarora Inc. of New Brighton, PA. Cary Krier of Colliers International Inc. in Dallas brokered the deal for a local owner, Americo Real Estate Ltd.

Friedland says the back-to-back closings pushed the REIT’s portfolio to more than 11 million sf of industrial space in nine metropolitan markets. Its largest blocks are three million sf in Dallas/Fort Worth; 1.3 million sf in Chicago; and more than one million sf in Houston. The Cobalt team included Tom Fishman, acquisitions director, and David Broome, senior associate.

Friedland says the acquisitions vary in age, but several are prime value-add opportunities “through capital improvements, leasing and re-tenanting programs.” The plan is to hire leasing and management firms in each city, and in some cases, by the submarket, he says. “The lease roll was one of the attributes of the portfolios,” he adds. “It fit very well with our existing assets in diverse rollover schedule and diversity by geography, tenant size and industry concentration.”

Cobalt Industrial REIT is a fixed fund that had $227 million of equity to leverage into $700 million of acquisitions. “We are 90% invested,” Friedland says. “I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made in the first fund.” Next month, his calendar is penciled for a few more closings as he advances a plan to be fully invested by year’s end.

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