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VALPARAISO, IN-FT & NW Investments, of Chicago, has acquired Pratt Industries 507,000-square-foot corrugated box manufacturing facility in a $15.2-million sale-leaseback. Constructed in 2002 as the world’s largest corrugating facility by volume, 3155 State Road 49 is fully occupied by the paper and packaging manufacturer, which signed a long-term lease to remain there. Conyers, GA-based Pratt was represented by Matthew Gilbert and Michael Hochanadel, both of Jones Lang LaSalle, in the transaction.

“We had executed a sale-leaseback for Pratt down in Charlotte in 2007 and I think they like the structure and access to cash flow in this market,” Gilbert tells GlobeSt.com. “Buyers are scarce these days, so I think it was a fair deal for everybody and everyone came out of this thinking it was a good deal in terms of yield and term. It made sense from everyone’s perspective.”

Gilbert declined to disclose the exact lease term or rate that Pratt got on the deal. The factory is the only one in the industry with two 110-inch BHS corrugators, and also offers nine finishing machines for box customers. Located in the northwest Indiana submarket, the property is just 45 miles from Chicago and still characterized as falling within the metro Chicago market.

“Northwest Indiana is a bit unusual in that you have really old antiquated buildings and then you have brand new bulk warehouse distribution buildings,” Gilbert says. “There are two ends of that spectrum in the extreme, and there’s not much in the middle. This is a brand new building that has room for expansion and I would say those assets are marketable today.”

Gilbert says Jones Lang LaSalle is seeing a growing popularity of sale-leaseback transaction in current market conditions. “We are seeing an increase in inquiry from potential sellers on what a sale-leaseback would look like and what the pricing would be,” he says. “End users are looking for alternative ways to raise capital and, while it’s not a new concept, this certainly is not the easy lending environment it was six to 24 months ago to say the least. Interest is ticking up, but people are disappointed that when they looked at sale-leasebacks in the past, pricing yields are not what they thought they would be because everyone’s cost of capital has gone up.”

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