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ST. LOUIS-TriStar Properties has sold its 55,000-sf office building here at Highway 141 and Bowles Avenue, used as a school by Sanford Brown, for $16.2 million to Greenville, SC-based TIC Properties. TriStar completed the two-story building, with parking for 440 vehicles, in early 2006.

Sanford Brown, a technical school, has a 10-year lease for the building, and had the facility reconfigured as a junior college. Thus, the lease rate is different than most office property leases in the southwest St. Louis area, says TriStar president Mike Towerman. “They’re paying a little bit more,” he says. The average office lease is $20.49 per sf, according to a second quarter Grubb & Ellis market report.

The 10-year lease helped sell the building, Towerman tells GlobeSt.com, as well as the location of the property. “It’s right across the street from a 50-acre hospital campus. If Sanford Brown leaves, there would probably be doctors that would want to be near the hospital,” he says. There’s also an allowance for another 40,000-sf office building on the site, he says.

Despite it’s attractiveness, the time was right to sell the building, Towerman says. “Prices for these properties have really been driven up. There’s so much money looking for these investments, where basically all you do is clip coupons and collect the rent. With the competition, prices have gone up, and we didn’t know if we could get this price in subsequent years, we’re at the top of the cycle,” he says. Steve Jacquemin with S.J. Financial Group represented TIC in the purchase.

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