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ATLANTA-A joint venture of Boston-based REIT Winthrop Realty Trust and Sealy & Co. Inc. has acquired 12 flex properties containing 472,000 sf for just under $38 million. The acquisition was financed through a first mortgage loan of $28.75 million.

Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, Sealy will control the day-to-day operations of the joint venture and Winthrop has the right to vote on decisions regarding the property. Winthrop’s ownership in the joint venture is 60%.

The company has also sold two properties that secured 7.65% convertible loans in its Marc Realty portfolio for $4.9 million. Winthrop invested $3.8 million on the assets in March 2005. Winthrop continues to hold mezzanine loans and membership interests with respect to 22 properties owned by affiliates of Marc Realty. Winthrop Realty Trust COO Carolyn Tiffany says the company cannot comment further on the acquisitions or sales.

According to a Grubb & Ellis Q3 Atlanta industrial market report, investment sales activity in the Atlanta area has been extremely strong. “Investment in Atlanta’s industrial market will be robust during the remainder of 2006, driven by aggressive investors and an abundance of capital,” the report states. “During [Q3], investors spent in excess of $350 million on Atlanta industrial properties.”

The Atlanta industrial market is experiencing a 14.6% vacancy rate with 870,000 sf of absorption during the quarter and 4.2 million sf of absorption year-to-date. Average asking rents are $3.75 per sf for warehouse/distribution space and $7.04 for R&D and flex space, according to the report. “As speculative construction continues to come online, vacancy and rents will take a short-term hit. However, continued strong demand will match supply keeping the market in a relative equilibrium for the foreseeable future,” the report says.

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