BALTIMORE-USA Realty Fund, a separate account managed by the Union Labor Life Insurance Co., has acquired a $78.9-million portfolio of office towers here. Harbor Group International sold the buildings which total 572,756 sf.

Jeffrey Dunne, Steven Bardsley and Todd Newman of CB Richard Ellis’ New York Tri-State Region Institutional Group and Bo Cashman of CBRE’s Baltimore office acted as investment advisor for the seller–a group of companies that included HG Hopkins Holdings LLC, Hopkins Plaza Financial Associates LLC, HPFA Managing Co. LLC and East Baltimore Financial Associates LLC. The CBRE team also lined up the buyer for the deal.

According to Dunne, the 572,756-sf CBD portfolio is the first asset acquisition for USA Realty Fund. “It went from being a lender on real estate assets to owning some as well,” he tells GlobeSt.com. One of the primary goals behind its purchase, Dunne speculates, is the steady cash flow the portfolio yields.

The portfolio consists of the Mercantile Bank & Trust Building and Ten East Baltimore St. Located within walking distance of Baltimore Inner Harbor and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the buildings are over 99% leased.

The Mercantile building, which Dunne says offers the greatest value in the portfolio, is a 378,797-sf, 22-story office tower with a three-story 25,291-sf pavilion. Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. built both structures, which are situated on a 1.4-acre site, in 1970 to serve as its headquarters. Tenants include Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co., which occupies 216,828 sf and Venable LLP, which occupies 140,649 sf.

Ten East Baltimore is a 16-story, 168,668-sf tower located on a 0.4 acre site. It was renovated in 2000 with new interiors and has 14 office tenants from a wide variety of industries including state government, engineering, communications and real estate. There are also four ground-floor retail tenants.

Dunne says this transaction is illustrative of the transition under way in Downtown Baltimore. “It is increasingly becoming an attractive area in which to locate for a number of reasons.”

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