Menlo Equities Nabs Brand-New Austin Office Asset
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The two-building Champion Office Park, completed last year, is already fully occupied.
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Austin—It’s brand new, it’s fully leased and now it belongs to Menlo Equities. Acting on behalf of its recently launched Menlo Equities Absolute Return Fund, the vertically integrated commercial real estate company just acquired the 221,000-square-foot Champion Office Park, a premier two-building complex in Austin, Texas, from Endeavor Real Estate Group and Granite Properties Inc.
Menlo knows how to pick ‘em. “We’ve been at this for 22 years and have stayed focused on what we know best—exceptionally well-located office properties in tech-driven submarkets that we know very well,” Kevin Kujawski, president & CEO of MEARF, told Commercial Property Executive.
Endeavor and Granite, which relied on commercial real estate and capital markets services provider HFF to market Champion, only completed development of the Overland Partners-designed buildings last year. The 28-acre campus on Champion Grandview Way is surrounded by technology companies and counts two big names as tenants. The office park attracted the attention of Jobs2Careers, which signed on for roughly 13,500 square feet ahead of Indeed.com’s 213,000-square-foot lease, leaving the LEED Gold-certified property 100 percent occupied.
Champion is the stuff of investors’ dreams. It’s the kind of asset that’s simply hard to come by—but perhaps not so hard for Menlo. “We value speed and efficiency during the transaction process, and we know that sellers and brokers do as well. And we have the deep capital markets relationships with institutions that trust us, know we’ll perform, and are also willing to move quickly,” Kujawski said. “We believe our laser focus, nimble approach, valuable relationships and ability to respond quickly give us a bit of an edge in a more competitive environment.”
Menlo wrapped up the initial formation of MEARF in May with $215 million of equity commitments, but that’s just the beginning. Kujawski noted that an interim close is scheduled for Sept. 30, and another is likely to follow Dec. 31, potentially leaving the Fund with approximately $100 million more. And going into 2017, Menlo expects to raise as much as an additional $400 million of equity over an 18-month period. “It’s an open-end, evergreen fund that could continue to raise equity and deploy capital in perpetuity,” Kujawski added.