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Westport capital bolsters valley portfolio and spends $23.3 million for Tempe project

Tempe – A company formed by Westport Capital Partners LLC in Wilton, Ct. (Russel Bernard, principal) paid $23.3 million ($106 per foot) to buy 219,809 sq. ft. of office buildings within the Agave Center in Tempe. Agave Property Center LLC was the buyer in the cash transaction, which included 4.6 acres of land ready for development. The seller was MEPT Agave Center LLC, a company formed by Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT) in Bethesda, Md. (David Keto, manager). The deal was brokered by Dennis Desmond and Brian Ackerman of Jones Lang LaSalle in Phoenix, and Mark Gustin of Cushman & Wakefield of Arizona Inc. in Phoenix

Agave Center is located on 27 acres at the southeast corner of Warner Road and Interstate 10. The project was built in 1999 by Trammell Crow Co. in a development agreement with MEPT. The five-building Agave Center has three components: Agave Business Center, 55,221 sq. ft. of back-office space in a single-story structure located at 8945 S. Harl Avenue; Agave Corporate Center, 86,115 sq. ft. in a two-story building at 1711 W. Greentree Drive, and Agave Executive Center, three, single-story back-office structures totaling a combined 78,473 sq. ft. Those buildings are 40,483 sq. ft. at 1725 W. Greentree Drive, 18,973 sq. ft. at 1721 W. Greentree Drive and 19,017 sq. ft. at 1729 W. Greentree Drive. On the average, the buildings are 80 percent occupied. Gustin has the leasing assignment. The three undeveloped parcels, which total about 4.64 acres, are expected to accommodate another 50,000 sq. ft. to 75,000 sq. ft. of commercial buildings. There is no immediate plan to develop that space

With the acquisition of Agave Center, Westport Capital has invested $73.55 million in buying three office properties and one apartment complex in the Valley. The privately-held Westport Capital Partners is a real estate firm that specializes in opportunistic investments. Through its various funds, the company invests in a wide variety of distressed assets. The company is looking for additional real estate investment opportunities in the Valley. “Westport continues to add attractive, functional assets to our national portfolio that are in strong performing markets,” said Sean Armstrong, a principal and portfolio manager with Westport. “This is our fourth (office) investment in the Phoenix area, which continues to be a highly attractive market for owners and companies seeking a business-friendly environment.” MEPT, an open-end commingled real estate equity fund, is managed by NewTower Trust Co. in Bethesda. MEPT acquires real estate across the U.S. The company has invested $5.56+ billion in 145 properties in 30 markets in the country. The fund buys office, warehouse, R&D, apartments, retail centers and hotels.

Nick Labadie, Senior Planner and Product Manager at Rose Law Group says, “The bonus 4.6 acres makes this an interesting deal to me. I recall there being a mix of GID and PCC-1 zoning at that intersection, so it will be interesting to see if Westport Capital Partners’ plan with the undeveloped 4.6 acres is to re-zone, unload the parcels, or develop different product in the long term. Developing commercial there near the Ikea and Emerald Design Center and with frontage on Warner Road would have unique opportunities and challenges.”

Pete Campbell is the contact at Westport Capital . . . call him at (310) 294-1241. Keto is at (292) 737-7300. Lydon and Hertzberg are at (602) 840-9333. Gustin is at (602) 253-7900.


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August 2012