LaSalle sells 6 buildings in Howard

February 29, 1996|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,SUN STAFF

LaSalle Advisors Ltd. has finalized the sale of six area buildings to a Los Angeles-based pension adviser for $30.1 million, the latest indication of the frenzied demand for distribution projects.

Westmark Advisors' purchase of the Elkridge and Savage buildings also represents the largest industrial transaction in the Baltimore area in the past four years.

"This market is very healthy," said Victor S. Bucchere, a Westmark senior vice president and acquisition director. "Rents are at an all-time high, and these buildings will yield a very competitive rate of return."

The purchase by Westmark continues a wave of similar transactions by pension consultants eager to take advantage of single-digit vacancy rates and an explosion of business' demand for space.

In the case of LaSalle, which acquired Alex. Brown Inc.'s former pension fund adviser in December 1994, it owned the Meadowridge Business Park and the Corridor Industrial Park buildings on behalf of the Oregon state retirement system.

Alex. Brown had acquired the six buildings, totaling 812,000 square feet, in January and March 1990, paying $29.9 million.

Mr. Bucchere declined to reveal the name of the pension fund for which it acquired the six buildings, or its projected rate of return.

For Westmark, the deal for the fully leased buildings continues its long involvement in Baltimore real estate. In January 1992, the adviser formerly known as TCW Realty Advisors bought nearly one million square feet of Howard County warehouse space in a $32.5 million deal.

In all, Westmark now controls $150 million worth of area distribution centers totaling four million square feet.

"The market is certainly very hot right now," said Philip C. Iglehart, a Colliers Pinkard principal who represented Chicago-based LaSalle in the sale. "And LaSalle created value by providing attention to detail and by not deviating from its strategy to sell this portfolio."

LaSalle officials could not be reached for comment.

LaSalle began marketing the buildings for sale for $48 million in June 1995, as a package with five other office/warehouse projects in New Jersey.

Although the package garnered considerable interest -- including a reported $40 million offer from pension fund adviser Cabot Partners Ltd. Partnership of Boston -- LaSalle elected to separate the New Jersey buildings because they are in a different market and represent a different product type, sources said.

"Meadowridge is the best quality distribution product in the best location in the Baltimore-Washington corridor, and it is widely regarded as such," Mr. Bucchere said.

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