Former Pierce Arrow plant shoots to the future

Buffalo, N.Y., does not immediately come to mind when one thinks of high-tech hot spots. But The Kissling Interests, New York, is taking a chance on a factory there that was once used to build Pierce Arrow autos as a telecom facility.

Kissling has acquired the 1 million sq. ft. factory and the five acres surrounding it. The new owner has retained New York-based SCR Design Organization to plan and design the redevelopment. Dallas-based Turner Construction, which built the Pierce Arrow factory in 1908, will serve as construction consultant.

The New York and Buffalo offices of Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis are marketing the property. Besides offering the usual features an industrial redevelopment offers — high ceilings, heavy floorloads, freight elevators — Pierce Arrow Tech Center also is located in an Empire Zone, which qualifies tenants for tax incentives, reduced heating and electricity costs, investment credits, employee relocation benefits and other benefits.

With the Empire Zone incentives, Buffalo's demographics and available power, and the site's fiber access, Henry Feld, managing director at CB Richard Ellis, feels that Pierce Arrow Tech Center will be a prime location as the technology sector rebounds.

“We know that the market has slowed and there are some issues about the financial markets and capitalization of technology companies,” Feld said. “There's no doubt that there has been tremendous consolidation, but the demand for their services remains strong. We believe these companies will soon begin a second round of expansion, and our low-cost alternative will be extremely attractive to them.”

Cohen Financial finds a new online partner in Precept

Chicago-based Cohen Financial has chosen Oakland, Calif.-based Precept's online system to streamline the loan underwriting and closing process. The alliance has been formed in anticipation of completing more than $5 billion in commercial mortgage loans during the next six years with origination goals for the next 18 months set at $300 million.

Cohen's mortgage bankers begin the process with Precept by submitting a financing request. Precept performs an up-front analysis of the request, including underwriting the property and borrower using a standardized methodology that has been accepted by Precept's participating lenders. Precept's report is reviewed by Standard & Poor's, who provides an independent analysis of the loan package.

Precept then distributes all of the underwriting information to its participating lenders and auctions the right to fund the loan. Once the borrower selects an offer, the winning lender is bound and Precept facilitates the closing.

The alliance fits into Cohen's Vanguard initiative, which is a complete review of the company's systems and processes with a heavy emphasis on new technology. Cohen hopes to use Precept as a single point of contact to multiple lenders. While multiple lenders consider each loan, brokers do not have to assemble multiple loan packages.

Great! But have they signed any tenants as customers?

Everest Broadband Networks Canada, the Canadian subsidiary of Fort Lee, N.J.-based Everest Broadband Networks, has signed two prominent Canadian property owners to wiring contracts. Everest Canada will provide broadband access to the portfolios of Toronto-based O&Y Properties and Toronto-based Dundee Realty Corp.

Dundee owns 11.2 million sq. ft. of office and industrial space across Canada. The agreement with O&Y includes the firm's First Canadian Place in Toronto, as well as the remainder of the company's 8 million sq. ft. portfolio.

1031 exchanges now in the Loop
San Francisco-based LoopNet has joined with a consortium of title insurers to facilitate tax-deferred investment property transactions online. LoopNet's partners are Asset Preservation Inc., a subsidiary of Chicago-based Stewart Title Co. and Stewart Information Services Corp.; Investment Property Exchange Services Inc., a subsidiary of Irvine, Calif.-based Fidelity National Financial Inc.; and LandAmerica Exchange Co., a subsidiary of Richmond, Va.-based LandAmerica Financial Group.

LoopNet and the title insurers' online resource center enables users to take advantage of 1031 Exchanges, which allow investors to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of an asset by exchanging the property for a “like-kind” asset held by another investor. When a broker adds or edits a for-sale property listing on LoopNet.com, they can request 1031 Exchange information from the participating qualified intermediaries.