SAN ANTONIO-A Boston-based investment group has bought the 381,345-sf Forum from Nationwide Life Insurance Co. Sources say the three-building office complex and 48-acre development site in the northwest submarket has traded for close to $60 million.

The buyer, Intercontinental Developers Inc., didn’t return telephone calls by deadline. The high-profile property at 8000 W. Interstate 10 has been in the hands of Columbus-based Nationwide Life Insurance Co. at least two decades. The Dallas office of Holliday Fenoglio and Fowler LP handled the sale.

Although buyer, seller and brokers weren’t available to comment on the deal, local market experts say the asset is considered a strong investment by the industry. “This is a well-located, large office project with great tenants and in very good condition,” says Allan Young, managing partner with Stream Realty LP’s San Antonio office. The submarket dynamics with rising occupancy and rents translate into “a great investment opportunity for the buyer,” he adds.

Ernest Brown and Teresa Corbin, both with Grubb & Ellis Co. in San Antonio, say the 1980s-constructed Forum has always enjoyed the highest occupancy, relative to other A properties in the market, simply because there are so few of them. “San Antonio is not a big class A market,” Brown says. “In northwest San Antonio, where this is, you might have three or four class A buildings, which isn’t a whole lot.”

Corbin points out that there is some upside to the deal. She says the Forum’s quoted rate is $18 per sf to $19 per sf while its competitors are clocking in at $21 per sf to $22 per sf.

“This is a solid, classic building with a history or retaining tenants,” Corbin adds. “That kind of property can attract a lot of competition.”

The Forum is 95% occupied. In HFF’s marketing summary, Alliance Bernstein Investments Inc. is the lead tenant, with 92,067 sf locked down until April 2009. Verizon Communications Inc. occupies 81,309 sf through November 2011. The Legacy Office Suites controls 29,684 sf through October 2013. New York Life Insurance Co. has 20,813 sf through November 2016 and Wachovia Securities, 17,683 sf, through September 2012.

HFF’s marketing pitch also labels the 48-acre development tract at the corner of Horizon Hill and Midhorizon Road as being primed for additional parking, office, residential or mixed-use development. The infill land is part of a pocket with some of the area’s most affluent neighborhoods, retail, San Antonio International Airport and South Texas Medical Center.

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