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CHAMPAIGN, IL-Romanek Properties Ltd., based in Chicago, has sold a 12-building portfolio on Neil St. for $42 million. Gary Nussbaum, Thomas Gorman and Matthew Mitchell, all with Chicago-based Transwestern, represented Romanek in the transaction. The portfolio has a total of 241,198 sf of office and retail space. The buyer is identified only as a California-based family trust.

The portfolio is a master-planned project developed adjacent to the University of Illinois by Fox Development Corp., based here, and constructed between 1989 and 2001, says Nussbaum, managing director for Transwestern. The Shoppes of Knollwood is an upscale retail center and the rest of the portfolio consists of office space. The park has “a lot of high-credit national tenants,” Nussbaum says.

The Shoppes of Knollwood are located at 2131-2151 S Neil St. and a South Building at 2211-2229 S. Neil St. Nussbaum didn’t know the breakdown between office and retail, however, according to Fox Development’s website, the retail are of Shoppes of Knollwood consists of more than 38,000 sf.

The portfolio has always been well occupied and Nussbaum said he could not recall the development being less than 96% occupied. “It is in a market where there is a limited amount of class A office space and in a market where the class A office space tends to be 95% or better occupied,” he says. Office tenants include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Allstate, Amdocs and Intel.

The asking lease rate for class A office space in the area ranges from $15 per sf to $17 per sf, net, although “rates are going up all over” as there is not class A office space available, Nussbaum says. Retail tenants include First Midwest Bank and Le Peet Restaurant. The asking retail lease rate for retail in the area is between $17 per sf and $19 per sf net, he says.

Romanek acquired the properties in late 2004 with Transwestern representing the firm in the acquisition. Nussbaum would not disclose the sales price in the 2004 transaction, but it was reportedly $31 million. Romanek had not been planning on selling the portfolio when Transwestern contacted the firm with “a good match,” Nussbaum says. No renovations are needed to any of the buildings. “The buyer is looking for future and consistent cash flow,” he says. “This will be a long-term hold.”

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