Utah’s Woodbury Corp. prefers to buy and hold

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In agreeing to partner with local Northgate Properties developer Gary Erickson, the Woodbury Corp. of Salt Lake City and its WoodHawk joint venture have committed to finance and market what would be the city’s largest retail project.

City officials were obviously impressed especially by the Woodbury name, but few in the Pikes Peak region are familiar with Erickson’s key backers.

That may be because, according to its website, the four-generation, privately owned firm stays fairly removed from public view.

Founded in 1919, the company is known for a “buy and hold” philosophy, said WoodHawk partner Kevin Hawkins. As a result, plans for Copper Ridge include leasing rather than selling land or buildings to the project’s retail anchors and tenants.

According to financial-research sites manta.com and Dun & Bradstreet, the company’s annual revenues are between $10 million and $20 million and it employs about 65 people at its headquarters in Salt Lake City.

The business is nowadays headed by founder Orin Woodbury’s grandson, Rick Woodbury. Several members of the family also hold high positions in the company as well as in the real estate industry. O. Randall “Randy” Woodbury, for example, was named president of the national Institute of Real Estate Management in fall of 2009.

Named by Entrepreneur magazine as one of 12 “Trailblazers,” companies that helped built Utah, Woodbury Corp. owns 55 shopping centers containing about 8 million square feet, about a million and a half square feet of office space and nine hotels.

And some of those are located near or in conjunction with military installations.

The company is part of an investment team that is developing the new Falcon Hill National Aerospace Research Park on 550 acres adjacent to Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

According to 2009 media reports in Utah, the $1.5 billion research park was not without controversy. The Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau reported that about 160 subcontractors were invited to learn about the project after it was announced, and that some of them worried that smaller firms would be screened out and not get work.

The company held a meeting with the subcontractors to assure them they’d be included.

The project, like Copper Ridge, included heavy-weight partner-investors and political posturing.

A lease-signing ceremony in 2008, for example, was attended by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). He praised the “the culmination of five years of work” that included petitioning the Pentagon to preserve Falcon Hill’s office space from budget cuts.

Woodbury is also known for its philanthropy.

The Woodbury family donated $20 million in October 2007 to create Utah Valley State College’s Woodbury School of Business in the Woodbury building on the campus.

Greystone Manor sold

An historic downtown apartment complex has sold to investor John Broomfield for $680,000.

The 10-unit Greystone Manor apartments, built in 1909, were 90-percent occupied at the time of sale. The building’s one- and two-bedroom units include turn-of-the-century features such as high ceilings, hardwood floors, stained glass entry area windows and built-in dining area cabinetry with leaded glass doors, said Apartment Realty Advisors broker Ken Greene who, along with ARA’s Kevin McKenna, represented the seller, RTL LLC.

Powers Office Park adds more tenants

With Black Forest Engineering recently signed as a 17,000-square-foot tenant, Grubb & Ellis Quantum Commercial Group broker Andy Oyler says leasing and purchase activity at the 60-acre Powers Office Park is definitely picking up.

Evidence of increased momentum was confirmed this week with the announcement of two new tenants.

Carefree Family Medicine leased 3,800 square feet of office space and State Farm Insurance leased another 1,200 square feet in one of three completed buildings at 9320 Grand Cordera Way.

“About half our inquiries are from prospective tenants and the other half from purchasers,” Oyler said.

Oyler, Mary Francis Cowan — also of Grubb & Ellis Quantum Commercial Group — and Ted Link of Cascade Commercial Group represented the both the landlord, Compass Capital Group, and the tenants.

Becky Hurley can be reached at becky.hurley@csbj.com or 719-329-5235. Friend her on Facebook.