Downtown’s Brinkley Plaza has sold for $7.2 million to a Canadian real estate investment firm.
Montreal-based Olymbec USA LLC, an entity of Olymbec Corporate Group, acquired the 219,557-square-foot tower at 80 Monroe Ave., its ground lease and the adjacent 300-space covered parking garage.
Richard Stern, president of Olymbec, said his firm pulled the trigger because it was “an opportunistic purchase.”
“We feel that it’s in a market that’s probably on its way up at this point,” Stern said. “We think that we’re buying it at the right time, and we’re also taking advantage of the high Canadian dollar against the American dollar.”
Built in 1923, Brinkley Plaza is a Class B, 10-story office building that sits on 0.66 acres at the corner of Monroe and South Main Street. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $4.4 million.
Olymbec bought the asset from a partnership made up of entities related to local commercial real estate groups CB Richard Ellis Memphis and Loeb Properties Inc. CBRE’s Johnny Lamberson, executive vice president and Terry Radford, senior brokerage analyst, represented the seller.
Earl Williams Jr., senior vice president with Loeb Realty Co. Inc., signed the deed as the managing partner of Sanderlin Place, which held two-thirds ownership of Brinkley Plaza. Williams is chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Loeb Properties.
J. Kevin Adams, CEO of CBRE Memphis, signed the deed as managing partner of Brinkley Plaza II Partnership, which held one-third ownership of the office tower.
Sanderlin Place and Brinkley Plaza II Partnership bought Brinkley Plaza in 2003 for $6 million.
Although the office high-rise is currently 60 percent occupied, Stern is bullish that Brinkley Plaza can “easily” achieve the average office occupancy rate of 80 percent.
“We’ll be able to do that because of our well-below replacement purchase price that we’ve made on it and maybe even below market price for comparable buildings,” Stern said. “We’ll be able to discount the rental rates enough to draw people into our property.”
CBRE Memphis will continue to lease and manage Brinkley Plaza. The current asking rate is $14.50 to $15.50 per square foot, and is marketed as the “best office value in Memphis.”
Stern touted the “substantial capital improvements” Brinkley Plaza has received lately, including a $1 million upgraded elevator system. He’s also optimistic about Downtown’s heightened activity.
“A lot of hotels, restaurants, stores and services have continued to open up Downtown, making it more attractive for people to work, live and play,” Stern said. “We’re counting on that momentum to continue.”
Brinkley Plaza marks Olymbec’s third Memphis acquisition in two years and first office endeavor. The acquisition brings the firm’s total Memphis portfolio to nearly 2 million square feet.
The family-run, private real estate investment firm entered the Memphis market in 2004 with its purchase of a 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Southaven at 8800 Rostin Road. The facility is currently occupied by Terex Corp., a heavy equipment company.
In February 2011, Olymbec bought the 1.1 million-square-foot Space Center portfolio at 3051-3133 Tranquility Drive from Trammel Crow Co. for $7.3 million.
And this past July, Olymbec purchased a 157,000-square-foot, Class C industrial warehouse at 3615 Lamar Ave. from an entity affiliated with Miami-based loan servicer LNR Partners LLC for $1.5 million.
Olymbec’s portfolio includes more than 200 properties, the majority of which are in Quebec. The firm specializes in buying distressed properties, renovating and filling the space, and seeking long-term financing.
Olymbec is also active in the U.S. in Texas and Nevada.
Stern said Olymbec will continue to pursue more opportunities to buy in Memphis, both on the industrial and office front.
“We are actively looking and working on deals as we speak,” he said.