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[IMGCAP(1)]ALVARADO, TX-In a deal pushing $30 million, WP Carey Inc. has completed a 20-year sale-leaseback with Sioux City, IA-based Sabre Industries Inc. for the first phase of a manufacturing complex south of Fort Worth and a 75-acre footprint in Louisiana. And next week, phase two will be up for grabs as a sale-leaseback too.

In all, the New York City-based investment group has bought 578,336 sf of Sabre-leased industrial space. The Alvarado piece consists of four buildings, totaling 200,748 sf, on 64.5 acres at 8653 E. Highway 67 in Johnson County. A 42,000-sf building, rising as phase two, will come to market in the $15-million to $18-million range. In Bossier City, LA, Sabre sold a 386,588-sf plant that it inherited in the lock, stock and barrel acquisition of CellXion LLC in September 2007. Situated on 75 acres, the plant at 5031 Hazel Jones Rd. was built in 1996 and expanded several times, the latest addition coming in 2004.

Sabre bought 147 acres about two years ago in Alvarado. It has reserved 60 to 80 acres to develop an industrial park around its manufacturing complex, which makes steel pipes for the cell phone industry. Craig Hughes, director of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc., tells GlobeSt.com that the tentative plan is to divvy the surplus land into six tracts, each capable of supporting 50,000 sf to 100,000 sf, for lease, sale and build-to-suit projects. Ground will break before the year ends, he says.

[IMGCAP(2)]Hughes has invested nearly 2.5 years into the Sabre deal, working it from site selection, ground-up construction and now the sale-leaseback. The charge was to find a developable site within easy reach of Fort Worth for employees and its steel supplier. The firm uprooted 125 employees at a 150,000-sf factory at 2300 W. Risinger Rd. and moved 22 miles south to Alvarado, where the head count will jump to 300 workers when the galvanizing plant comes on line in 30 days. Phase one went live Dec. 8, 2007, a package consisting of a 157,000-sf steel-fabrication plant, 24,000-sf office building and 19,000-sf sandblasting and paint booth for 60-foot tubular poles.

“Most often, the ones I’ve sold were mothballed jobs. This is the first time I’ve gotten to grow one,” Hughes says.

Hughes says the galvanizing building is only the second one in North America with this particular zero-emission design, patterned after a facility in Italy. He says the building didn’t go to market with Sabre’s manufacturing plant because “it wasn’t ready to sell.”

Hughes says the Sabre portfolio wasn’t mass marketed because it required buyers as specialized as the product. “I talked to 40 investors, had 10 interested parties and four or five serious offers,” he says, adding WP Carey’s price, ability to close and financing capability won the nod.

The buyer also worked with Sabre to “come to a happy median,” Hughes adds. “We wanted to maximize proceeds, but not do it at the expense of our rent.” It took five months to bed down the deal.

Hughes says Sabre used sale proceeds to pay off a credit line so it could move forward on the rest of its development plan. The sale didn’t include a right of first refusal for phase two, but he says it is “simple real estate 101″ that WP Carey will be among those courted.

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