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NEW SMITHVILLE, PA-A New Jersey-based private investor has acquired the 95,499-sf industrial building occupied by Chattanooga, TN-based Kenco Group Inc. for $7.4 million. The $77.49-per-sf price is well above market rate for industrial properties in the Lehigh Valley market.

Bethlehem, PA-based Arcadia Properties LLC developed the building at 9784 Commerce Circle as a build-to-suit for Kenco’s logistics division in 2000. Four years remain on the Kenco lease.

Darbin and Deborah Skeans, senior advisers for Sperry Van Ness/Imperial Realty in Allentown, acquired the building for an undisclosed price while it was under construction. Tom Skeans, their son and also a principal of SVN/Imperial, represented the seller and Mike Adams of Allentown-based Coldwell Banker Commercial negotiated for the buyer, identified only as 297 Getty Avenue Associates.

Tom Skeans tells GlobeSt.com the Kenco rent rate is $6.35 per sf, “which is well above market rate here.” He adds that area industrial sales typically are in the $60-per-sf range and rental rates average about $4.50 per sf. “Industrial rents have been somewhat flat and there’s no guarantee the building would command its premium rent if Kenco decided not to renew,” he says, “so this seemed like an opportune time to sell.”

Because Kenco serves Wyomissing, PA-based Carpenter Technology Corp., a global supplier of specialty steel, the building was constructed with five cranes to accommodate heavy loads. “The construction cost was more than the cost of building a typical industrial shell,” Skeans says.

As GlobeSt.com previously reported, Imperial Realty affiliated with Sperry Van Ness in March 2005, which represented the Irvine, CA-based company’s expansion to the Lehigh Valley. Imperial’s owners became Sperry Van Ness’ senior advisers in the region.

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