Prime Center acquired by joint venture group

In one of the year’s largest property transactions to date, the six-building, 283,885-square-foot Prime Center on 32 acres at the intersection of North Chapel Hills Drive and Briargate Boulevard has been acquired by DIV Briargate Property LLC.

The new owner is a joint venture that includes Colorado Springs-based Griffis Blessing Inc. and The Davis Companies of Boston.

“We acquired the note about 18 months ago, and because the property was not performing, we decided to accept a friendly deed-in-lieu of foreclosure from the prior owners,” said Griffis Blessing Inc. President Steve Engel.

The buildings are 64 percent occupied. Tenants include T-Mobile, Wells Fargo, Zurich American, United Healthcare, State Farm Insurance and Keller Homes.

The property’s value had fallen from the $43 million paid for it in 2004, he said, adding that the new owners recapitalized their asset.

That, in turn, will give Prime Center an edge.

“We chose not to highly leverage the property,” Engel said.

In a competitive commercial market with an average office vacancy rate about 16 percent according to Turner Commercial Research, cash-rich investors who can offer attractive tenant improvement and leasing commissions have an advantage.

The partnership plans several property enhancements including new signage, interior tenant finish packages, energy saving measures, and parking and landscape improvements. The Sierra Commercial Real Estate team of Kent Mau, Brian Wagner and Mark O’Donnell will serve as the center’s leasing brokers.

“Prime Center already benefits from an excellent location, high quality construction, and a nationally recognized tenant base, so our “value add” is to provide a very hands-on property management team and to be highly responsive to the leasing market,” said Davis Companies CEO Jonathan Davis.