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GREENVILLE, SC-Liberty Property Trust has completed the sale of Independence Corporate Park, which consists of six class A office buildings and an amenity center totaling 300,000 square feet. The Malvern, PA-based REIT sold the property to Boston-based Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. for $35 million.

“This sale plays into our strategy to focus on multi-tenant industrial space and reduce our office presence in the Carolinas,” Massie Flippin, Liberty vice president and city manager for the Carolinas region, tells GlobeSt.com. “We have had success over the years with quality industrial properties. With the strong demographics in the Interstate 85 corridor between Raleigh and Greenville, we felt we could continue forward with development in those positions. With population and job growth, those areas will be in need of more local distribution.”

Liberty still holds one office building as part of its Greenville portfolio: Timken Technlogy Center at 7 Research Drive, which is 100% leased to Timken Co. That property is currently being marketed, says Flippin. Currently the trust holds more than five million square feet of office and industrial space throughout the Carolinas, serving more than 130 tenants.

Intercontinental was drawn to Independence Corporate Park because of its diverse tenant mix and the strength of the Greenville economy, says Ryan Clutter, executive vice president with CB Richard Ellis in Charlotte, NC, who represented Liberty in the transaction. “Intercontinental has targeted the Carolinas as a desired place to invest because of its favorable job growth,” Clutter explains to GlobeSt.com. “Greenville’s economy is also very diverse, with a fairly strong slant towards engineering. The area is not as dependent on financial institutions like other Carolinas markets such as Charlotte, so it isn’t feeling the effects of the recession like those markets.”

The park’s two LEED silver-certified buildings, One Independence Point and Seven Independence Point, also attracted the buyer to the deal, says Clutter. Major tenants at the corporate park’s buildings, which were all constructed over the last seven years, include UnitedHealthcare, Stanley Hunt Dupree, ITT Educational, Greenville Hospital and General Electric. The deal also includes an 8,000-square-foot amenity center, which contains a deli that serves breakfast and lunch, an exercise room, showers and lockers and conference room space.

Greenville’s office market ended the 2008 year with an overall occupancy rate of 83.6% and average class A rental rates of $20.41 per square foot, according to the latest Colliers Keenan market report. The brokerage projects that Greenville is well positioned to “ride out the recession” because of its low operating costs compared to other areas of the US, well-priced homes and job growth. Higher educational institutions are looking to expand in the market and are expected to contribute to positive absorption during 2009, the report states.

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