New owner of former Con-way buildings sets new price floor in Ann Arbor's South State corridor
The two buildings, with a combined 89,000 square feet of space, were formerly occupied by Con-way Freight, which announced its move to a new facility in Ann Arbor Township in late 2007.
The space is now listed by Friedman Real Estate Group of Farmington Hills for $7.95 per square foot. Senior vice president Phil Konopitski said the price ought to attract companies looking to cut costs.
"The market is certainly in a cost-reduction mode," he said. "We might be able to help (such companies)."
The buildings had been repossessed by the John Hancock Variable Life Insurance Company from previous owner Craig Singer of Milford Singer Co. in Bloomfield Hills. According to county records, Singer paid a combined price of $6.76 million for the buildings in 1997. The county sheriff recorded a foreclosure sale of the buildings to John Hancock in January at $3.9 million.
David Friedman of the Friedman Group said the new owners plan to invest in new landscaping and entrances to the buildings.
"That (work) combined with the undermarket lease rates will make a good value for Pittsfield and the Ann Arbor market," he said. "We've had a lot of interest and activity since it changed hands."
Last summer, Singer tried to auction the properties, with a minimum bid of $40.50 per square foot, or $3.6 million for both buildings. No bids were received.
In April, another building in the complex, a 25,000-square-foot space owned by Dick Dolan and also formerly occupied by Con-way, was listed by Swisher Commercial at $9 per square foot.
According to the CPIX commercial real estate database, the $7.95 asking lease rate is lower than the going rate in the area by about $1 per square foot.
Jim Chaconas, an agent with Colliers International, said the lower lease price offered by Friedman does not necessarily signify major new downward pressure on the South State commercial real estate market, which has been rocked by vacancies. Instead, he said, it's a sign of the increasing number of chances to acquire relatively cheap property.
"Those are the opportunities that are out there," Chaconas said. "If they can find a tenant, it's a home run."
He said the lease rate Friedman is asking for is in line with the market and the state of the building.
The South State area has seen high vacancy rates in commercial real estate. According to Swisher Commercial's 2008 year-end report, the area had a vacancy rate of more than 20 percent, the highest in the region.
Photo: 4750 Venture Drive in Pittsfield Township is one of two buildings recently assumed by Friedman Real Estate Group | Dan Meisler.
Freelance reporter Dan Meisler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org