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TROY, MI-Emmes Asset Management Co. LLC has hired CB Richard Ellis to market its 1.2-million-sf Baluster Park, a 50%-occupied property that the New York City-based firm purchased in December for more than $83 million. The company also is moving forward on plans for more than $10 million in upgrades to the property, according to a spokeswoman.

The property had been called North Troy Corporate Park until Emmes bought the site, says Mark Collins with CBRE. Since then, the property lost almost 500,000 sf when EDS moved out and over to the GM-owned CenterPoint park in Pontiac. However, Siemens recently signed about 51,000 sf on two floors in Thatcher Centre, at 5555 New King, one of eight of the buildings on the campus. Collins tells GlobeSt.com that he’s negotiating with firms for another 300,000 sf of leases. “Emmes is really taking a hands-on approach, and have worked hard to put together an identity for the property. For example, all the buildings have been renamed after bridges, such as the Thatcher is named after a bridge in Balboa, Panama, and the Marlowe Centre is named after a bridge in the UK.”

He says times have been difficult in the Detroit area, and especially for office-heavy Troy. “The market here is soft, you have to scratch and claw for every deal. The current office vacancy in Troy is 26.8%, as compared to the rest of the Detroit market at 24.1%. However, though Troy has been hit hard, in the first quarter we saw 98,000 sf of absorption. While the total sf in the city is 13.5 million sf, 100,000 sf is not too dramatic, but we’re hoping that trend will keep developing,” Collins says. “I think Baluster will be well-positioned when the market comes back.”

The spokeswoman says her company believes in Troy, and in Oakland County, “one of the best counties in the US.” She says there’s a lot of upgrading going on at the park, which also includes tenants Worklife Financial, the Henry Ford Rehmann Group and ADP. Thatcher, for example, will be getting a brand new lobby and elevator cab updates, and the entire campus is undergoing a large landscaping program and new monument signage, she says. “Our big strategy is repositioning the asset and putting the portfolio back out in the community,” the spokeswoman says. “We’re also looking to court companies from outside the area. With a vacancy of 600,000 sf, there’s no way we’re getting that from the Troy office market alone.”

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