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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

DEERFIELD BEACH, FL-Graebel South Florida Movers has completed a sale-leaseback of its local 120,000-square-foot warehouse at 2900 SW 15th St. to Miami-based Easton Group. The transaction is valued at $9.6 million, 70% more than what the company bought it for, with Graebel remaining as a tenant for the next three years.

The warehouse was constructed as a build-to-suit for the regional office of the Denver-based global moving company by the Richard Mancini Trust in 2003. Graebel originally signed a 10-year lease at the site, with an option to purchase after five years. As that option came due, the company purchased the building for $5.6 million.

The deal is the only sale-leaseback involving an industrial building of at least 50,000 square feet in Broward County during the fourth quarter, says Richard Etner Jr., executive director of Cushman & Wakefield’s industrial brokerage in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s unique to get a sale-leaseback of this size done in this time and place when deals like this are virtually non-existent, cap rates are more difficult and lending is almost impossible,” Etner tells GlobeSt.com of the deal he brokered. In addition to the existing facility on the site, there is also land available for a 50,000-square-foot expansion and trailer storage, he notes.

Approximately $5.6 million of the transaction was financed through State Farm and the remainder of the purchase price was paid in cash, says Albert Couto, Easton Group president and COO. “We believe it’s a great value and below replacement costs,” Coutu tells GlobeSt.com.

If Graebel vacates the building after its three-year lease is up, Couto is confident that the space could be backfilled quickly. “We have national tenants in all of our warehouses, and through our relationships and existing customer base we’ll be able to find a tenant,” he says, adding that as future tenants needs arise, Easton Group would consider expanding the facility.

“This deal is evidence that the appetite for industrial property in this region is still there,” says Etner. “Investor expectations are a little more cautious, but the interest level is still peaking.”

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