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SAN JOSE, CA-Qualcomm has acquired a 90,000-sf R&D/office property here that it had been leasing. The San Diego-based maker of wireless computer chips paid $20 million for the two-story building at 2581 Junction Ave. The sale price represents a 4.6% cap rate based on the property’s 2007 NOI, according to an industry source.

The seller was a joint venture of ING Clarion Partners and Taylor Corp. Michael Leggett of Cornish & Carey represented building ownership in the sale, which is reportedly part of a larger transaction. Leggett was not immediately available Wednesday for comment.

Bart Lammersen, the Staubach SVP who brokered Qualcomm’s seven-year lease deal for the building in 2005, tells GlobeSt.com that Qualcomm may have been interested in owning the building because it has invested heavily in it, adding a wafer fabrication facility in 2006. It leased the space for the regional headquarters of Iridigm Display Corp., a handheld-device display specialist it acquired for $170 million that was running out of room in its Downtown San Francisco offices.

Ten months ago, in October 2007, Qualcomm paid $80 million for Kifer Corporate Center, a 320,000-sf, four-building low-rise campus in Santa Clara, saying it would use the space to consolidate a couple of its expanding South Bay offices. The seller, LBA Realty, acquired the 22-year-old campus empty in 2005 for approximately $46 million and proceeded to invest additional funds rehabilitating and repositioning the property. Lammersen also brokered that deal.

“When you look at the amount of investment Qualcomm would make beyond what the [tenant improvement] allowance [LBA] would have provided and the P&L benefits from owning instead of leasing, coupled with the company’s strong cash position, there were compelling reasons to own rather than rent,” Lammersen tells GlobeSt.com.

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