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NEW BRAUNFELS, TX-A Cleveland-based investment group has ended up with a 102,940-sf manufacturing building through an off-market transaction. Weston Inc. paid north of $3 million for the Moll building, a single-tenant asset.

Once the manufacturing site for Moll Industries Inc., the building at 710 FM 306 originally was available for lease by JJM Holdings of Northern California after Moll moved out about a year ago with five years remaining on its lease. At the time, the rent was being quoted at $4 per sf annually, triple net, for the 1980s-era factory.

“We put in EH Systems as a sublease to Moll during the due diligence process,” says Rob Namy, regional vice president of acquisitions for the buyer. Namy says EH Systems has taken the space for remainder of the lease term and included two five-year renewal options. EH Systems manufactures and distributes structural insulated panels for single-family homebuilders.

Namy tells GlobeSt.com that the buyer was primarily attracted to the 9.5-acre property for its location, midway between Austin and San Antonio. With the population of Austin and San Antonio expected to double in the near to mid-term future, Namy says Weston’s executive team is interested in acquiring more property between the two cities.

Greg S. Marberry, first vice president in Austin for CB Richards Ellis, says that, in addition to being a tourist destination, New Braunfels has attracted several manufacturing businesses. “In the little row where the Moll building is, there’s a fair amount of industrial buildings. Coleman has a plant next door to the facility, and Wal-Mart has a one-million-sf distribution facility across the road,” the seller’s broker says.

Marberry says another attraction is the workforce. “There’s a good work ethic in and around New Braunfels,” he explains. “So there’s the combination of New Braunfels being a good place to raise kids, people with a good work ethic and the tourist aspect. A lot of investors are seeing it as a viable situation for growth.”

Namy says Weston is specifically targeting the area between San Antonio and Austin for more investments, hoping to collect in excess of several million sf of industrial space. The company’s first purchase was last fall: a 106,391-sf industrial building on 53 acres at 1235 Loop 4 South in Buda, just south of Austin. Namy says there is no definitive timeline for acquiring more value-add industrial properties.

As for the Moll building, Namy hopes EH Systems will buy it at some point. “If we don’t sell it, we’re fine with that,” he says. “We like the area. We think it’s going to grow. We’ll hold onto it and wait until someone wants to buy it for the right price. If not, we’ll continue to lease it.”

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