A West Coast-based real estate investment and management company pursuing an expansion and diversification strategy has acquired a portfolio of North Carolina business parks for $50 million.

CIP Real Estate, based in Irvine, Calif., and Baltimore-based real estate investment company Alex Brown Realty jointly acquired the parks from Charlotte-based Beacon Ventures LLC.

The 597,725 sq. ft. portfolio of offices and warehouses includes Coffey Creek International Business Center in Charlotte; Hickory Grove Business Park in Charlotte; and Lake Norman Commerce Center in Cornelius, a community just north of Charlotte. CIP Real Estate represented itself in the transaction and Ryan Clutter of CB Richard Ellis represented the seller.

“The capital markets have seized up significantly over the past nine months as the credit crunch has gained steam,” says Clutter. “In light of these very challenging conditions, CIP Real Estate performed very well and delivered top notch execution in a time many buyers would not be able to perform.”

This sizeable transaction follows on the heels of CIP Real Estate announcing its expansion into the Southeast United States with the opening of its Charlotte office, headed by Jared Rogers, vice president and regional director.

“This portfolio meets our business objective of expanding into dynamic markets outside of the West Coast and, furthermore, expands our base in the Charlotte area,” says Rogers. “These business parks should produce excellent cash flow and have substantial upside potential.”

CIP Real Estate plans to make significant improvements to the properties including landscaping upgrades, exterior paint and adding new awnings and signage identity. CIP Real Estate expects to acquire more than $200 million in office and industrial assets in 2008 with a substantial percentage of this total in the Southeast. The company will concentrate on value-added properties in strong, supply-constrained submarkets.