office news

Sunbelt, Mack-Cali buy Class-A San Francisco buildings Delray Beach, Fla.-based Sunbelt Management Co. and Cranford, N.J.-based Mack-Cali Realty Corp. closed out the spring with two San Francisco Class-A office acquisitions. Sunbelt purchased 345 California Street from San Francisco-based California Center LLC for an undisclosed amount. Located in the financial district, the 48-story, 580,000 sq. ft. building includes the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and is nearly 100% occupied.

Mack-Cali has completed the $34 million acquisition of 795 Folsom Street from AT&T Corp. Mack-Cali will convert the six-story, 184,000 sq. ft. building from single-tenant to multi-tenant use. AT&T has leased back two floors totaling 63,278 sq. ft. in the building. Mack-Cali now owns three properties in the city's CBD.

In Florida, GE subsidiaries bring big deals to light With a little help from two General Electric Co. subsidiaries, a pair of Florida properties has changed hands. Stamford, Conn.-based GE Capital Real Estate provided a $57.2 million first-mortgage loan to Greenwich, Conn.-based J.S. Karlton Co. for the acquisition of BellSouth Tower in Jacksonville, Fla. The seller, Atlanta-based BellSouth Telecommunications Inc., will retain its position as anchor tenant by leasing 440,000 sq. ft. in the 30-story, 1 million sq. ft. building.

In Miami, GE Investment Partners IV and New York-based Insignia Financial Group Inc. acquired Airport Corporate Center through an affiliate. The venture purchased the 11-building, Class-A complex from Dutch/Belgian insurer John Alden Life Insurance Co./Fortis. According to The Miami Herald, Airport Corporate Center sold for more than $120 million.

Suburban Chicago complex sells for $47 million+ In a sale arranged by the suburban Chicago office of Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis, Waste Management Corp. sold its 535,000 sq. ft. former world headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., for more than $47 million to The St. Paul Cos., St. Paul, Minn. The five-building complex stretches from Oak Brook to neighboring Lombard.

Waste Management acquired the five properties in phases beginning in 1982, but relocated to Houston last year after its merger with U.S. Waste. The complex, to be renamed Butterfield Centre, will undergo redevelopment and retenanting.

BOMA bits: Overheard in Atlanta The third week in June brought the Building Owners and Managers (BOMA) International's 1999 convention to the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Some of the highlights: * In a session on capital markets, panelists expressed concern about overdevelopment, but the consensus was that capital is available for well-planned projects.

"I don't see the kind of dumb capital out there that we had in the 1980s," said Kurt Wright, executive vice president at Atlanta-based Lend Lease Real Estate Investment. * Internationally, Jim Hime, senior vice president of Houston-based Hines, compared developing in emerging markets to, "frisking a wet seal." Hime said it's a learn-as-you-go process in places such as Beijing and Moscow, both markets Hines has entered in the past few years. Although finding local talent is difficult and entering emerging markets is extremely risky, the learn-as-you-go method is virtually the only option, he said.

Andrew Wood, Lend Lease's executive vice president in New York, pointed to investment opportunities in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong where prices are starting to rise after falling as much as 30%. Wood said that Asian investment opportunities resemble the United States' real estate investment climate in the late-1980s and early-1990s.

* Walking the floor at BOMA, one exhibitor made me wonder: where do our readers spend most of the work day other than the office?

Sure, developers and owners want appealing lobbies, landscaping and other amenities to make their buildings stand out. But Andy Clement, office building marketing manager for Atlanta-based Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s away from home sector, knows where employees and tenants are hiding, and that hiding place can make a big impression. A filthy wash room can dash any image a sterling lobby makes, he said.

"They [tenants] spend more time in the wash room in a day than they do in the lobby in a month," Clement said.

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