News



In Depth: COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
January 7 , 2005
Gwinnett schools buys old Solectron campus

Call it the re-education of commercial real estate. The Gwinnett County School System purchased the former Solectron Corp. (NYSE: SLR) corporate campus for its own use. Gwinnett schools purchased the 370,000-square-foot warehouse and data-center space for $12.5 million from Solution Property Group LLC.

This comes a year after the two-man partnership Solution Property -- Mal Hill and Eben Hardie -- purchased the short-lived Solectron facility for $6.5 million. The building is in the Northbrook Corporate Campus in Gwinnett. Solution picked up the facility at a dramatically reduced price from its original asking price of $18 million, or $54 per square foot for the buildings. Solectron itself built the two buildings for $21 million originally.

"The school system wasn't able to act on it in the time frame the school system wanted to act," Hardie said. "We happened to buy it at a great price."

Sloan Roach, a spokesperson for Gwinnett schools, stated in an e-mail that the educational system will "house approximately 500 instructional and administrative support personnel" in the building. It will be called the "Instructional Support Center" and will free up other school buildings for student use, Roach stated.

The purchase also included 46 acres of land.

Former Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Wayne Mason is an equity partner in the deal, along with Hill and Hardie. Solectron vacated the buildings in 2001.
HomePlace replaced

A restaurant food supplier is setting up shop in Coweta County.

The Sygma Network Inc., a restaurant food distributor and division of Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY), leased 208,900 square feet at Shenandoah Industrial Park, said Greg Haynes with CB Richard Ellis Inc. in Atlanta. More specifically, the defunct retailer HomePlace of America Inc.'s former warehouse on Walt Sanders Memorial Drive. HomePlace went bankrupt in 2001 and shuttered all of its Atlanta stores and its warehouse operation.

Haynes and Todd Barton, also with CB, brokered the deal for the landlord, Rooker & Associates. Fischer & Co. in Dallas represented Sygma.

The deal shores up the Shenandoah Industrial Park warehouse for 10 years.

Solution Property also is moving forward on plans to construct a 547,000-square-foot distribution center in Braselton. Called the Braselton Distribution Center, the facility, which is part of a 400-acre tract owned by Solution Property, would be expandable up to 930,000 square feet. The site is across from the Haverty Furniture Cos. (NYSE: HVT) warehouse.

If regional planners grant approval, Hill said Solution Property will begin construction in June for a finish by next year.

With no tenants on board, Hill said Solution Property had yet to secure financing on the construction. But Hill said he was optimistic that Solution Property would get the money.

"I'm reasonably optimistic in the next 20 months that the trend toward regional distribution centers is moving forward," he said. "Our financial partners have supported our platform strategy and results."

"It's been sitting empty for about three years," said Elbert Rivers, vice president of Rooker. "We're very happy about that, particularly with a deal that's such an outstanding company. It helped [vacancy rates in Rooker's portfolio] quite a bit."

Officials with Sygma could not be reached as of press time.
Seeing Austell

Atlanta developer Seefried Properties Inc. has its sights set on Austell for a mega warehouse project.

Seefried has submitted plans to state planners for a two-building, 1-million-square-foot-plus warehouse campus called Douglas Hill Business Park, according to filings with Georgiaplanning.com. Despite the filing, Seefried is planning to sit on the land for the time being.

"This is so we will be prepared for the next build-to-suit opportunity," said Greg Herren, senior vice president at Seefried. The project will include two warehouses, one at more than 900,000 square feet and the other at 150,000 square feet. The project is projected to be completed by 2006, according to documents.
Taylor & Mathis deals

Two logistical companies helped to fill up a Taylor & Mathis warehouse.

NACA Logistics Group inked a deal for 41,000 square feet at SouthWoods Business Center, Building 800, in Clayton County. And Wilson Logistics Group, a Scandinavian firm, leased 67,400 square feet at the building as well, helping to bring the facility to fully leased status, Taylor & Mathis officials said.

Bob Currie of Cushman & Wakefield of Georgia Inc. brokered the NACA lease while Nathan Anderson, David Beak and Joseph Mullican of NAI Brannen/Goddard LLC brokered the Wilson Logistics deal.

Taylor & Mathis also signed FedEx Ground Package Systems, a division of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), to 13,200 square feet at SouthWoods Business Center, Building 400. The deal was brokered by Andy Henry of Fischer & Co.

All Taylor & Mathis deals were represented by Mike Irby.