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LEAGUE CITY, TX-A local partnership intending to expand its Star Toyota dealership just south of Houston finally closed on three parcels from separate Houston-based entities. The land deal, which totaled nearly 16 acres, included a vacant warehouse, which once housed Bimbo Bakeries’ regional bakery and distribution center.

The acquisition took place because buyer Benson-Sabin Partners Ltd., which has owned and operated Star Toyota for close to 40 years, couldn’t expand on its current site at 2112 Gulf Fwy. John Wall, associate with Houston-based Situs Cos. says an eminent domain issue took potential expansion land away from the buyer.

Meanwhile, Wall and Situs vice president Maury Bronstein were marketing the 16-acre rectangular plot just north of the dealership, along Interstate 45. “When they saw the availability of the hard corner, they had a strong interest in the site.” Wall says. Wall wouldn’t disclose the sales price, but similar land transactions have traded for between $40 per square foot and $60 per square foot. Wall says the price paid was over 90% of the asking price.

Though the hard corner was a huge attraction for the buyer, the original land marketed didn’t include the 1.7-acre corner at Interstate 45 and State Highway 96. Nor did it include 4.7 acres that were also part of the deal. Bronstein and Wall were originally charged with marketing 9.5 acres located along frontage, between the other parcels.

“Over a period of time, we struck up conversations with the land owners that owned the parcels next to it,” Bronstein comments. “We convinced both of them that, if they hadn’t thought about selling the land before, the market potential would be greater if the three sold at once.”

The sellers ultimately joined forces and agreed to a list and sales price. Bronstein acknowledges the deal had its challenges, however. “Rather than dealing with one seller who had his own needs, we had three sellers with different needs,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We had three sets of contracts, three different LOIs with the different groups and had to meet different terms to have a simultaneous closing.” Also involved was a rezoning change from multi-use to general commercial.

Adding to the situation was that closing was originally supposed to take place Tuesday after Hurricane Ike came ashore. But the vacant warehouse on the land sustained moderate damage from the storm, which delayed the closing a few more weeks.

“The buyer ultimately wanted to see the transaction go through and see to all the repairs,” Wall says. He adds the buyer will keep the warehouse on the site for the time being, but at some point it will be scrapped.

Bronstein says the new dealership is a little ways in the future. “They’re still in discussions about what will go there, and what will be taken from the current dealership,” Bronstein says. “But they’re planning for the future. Now the dealership and his family can stay in that location.”

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