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FORT WORTH-A first-time Texas buyer has picked off its first deed in an off-market deal for a 734,000-sf distribution center leased for the short term to Whirlpool Corp. It’s the second swap in two years for General Motors Corp.’s former footprint in Carter Industrial Park.

Due to a strict confidentiality clause, all that can be said about the buyer of 1101 Everman Parkway is it’s a private investor from the Southeast who’s searching for comparable industrial properties–net leased, empty or multi-tenant value-adds–to buy in Texas. The sweet spot is 500,000 sf, but that can be bent to 200,000 sf–and no directives on the price point. “If there are properties out there like that, have them call me,” stresses Jerry Buckner with Sperry Van Ness in Atlanta, who teamed with his son Brett to lock in the deal for a 41.4-acre property that sold for roughly $11 million in 2004 after it lingered on the market at $21.5 million.

Buckner says the decisionmakers were “the size of the deal in terms of the size of the building and the dollar size.” Like the buyer’s identity, not much can be disclosed about the price other than it beat the amount of the last trade. He says the anticipated hold of the 20-year-old structure is two or three years.

Buckner deferred questions about Whirlpool’s lease status to the seller’s broker, Trey Fricke, a principal for Lee & Associates Dallas. Fricke didn’t return telephone calls by publication time to comment on the hand-off by Industrial Realty Group LLC of Downey, CA, which bought it in January 2004. It took two years, but Fricke landed a full-building user, signing the Benton Harbor, MI-based Whirlpool to a two-year lease 10 months ago. Part of the make-ready process stripped out 118,000 sf of mezzanine space to drop it to 734,000 sf.

Buckner says the private investor isn’t “a cap-rate buyer” as evidenced by a deal with some dynamics that would have attracted institutional capital’s eyes and some, like the short lease, that kept it from being investment-grade material. The deal went full circle in 60 to 75 days, with the buyer teaming 1031 exchange funds and new financing to make the close. “It was happenstance,” Buckner says that laid the deal on his son’s doorstep, and “really good brokerage cooperation” that carried it across the closing table.

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