BOCA RATON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A consortium led by Thomas A. Rizk and Roger W. Thomas, founders, Workspace Property Trust (“Workspace”) today announced it has purchased an additional one million square feet across six class A suburban office buildings in five separate high-growth markets across the country from Griffin Realty Trust, Inc. (“GRT”) for $170.4 million, reinforcing its position as the preeminent national suburban office and light industrial, R&D and flex company in the US. Jordan Bock, founder of real estate investment firm Mason Capital, served as strategic advisor and partner to Workspace and the consortium in connection with this transaction, and continues to serve on the Board of Workspace.
The six buildings – located in suburban Chicago, Dallas, San Jose, Cincinnati and Greensboro -- when combined with the existing Workspace portfolio, increase the size of the company’s holdings to 19 million square feet with over 200 buildings in 23 major metropolitan markets in the US. GRT will retain a minority ownership in the portfolio. UBS provided the debt financing.
Workspace owns and operates suburban office buildings in 14 of the top 20 US metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Charlotte, Tampa, Phoenix, Silicon Valley, South Florida, Houston, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and St. Louis. Approximately 40% of the Fortune 500 have headquarters in Workspace markets and nearly seven million square feet of the Workspace portfolio is leased by companies comprising the Fortune 1000.
“We are pleased to complete the second phase of this transformative transaction with the purchase of an additional six Class A office buildings in high-growth, high-value suburban markets,” said Mr. Rizk, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Workspace. “Investing in the suburban office market has evolved quickly from a contrarian play into a sought after, mainstream and competitive sector as the suburbs continue to perform well, characterized by continued robust leasing activity fueled by strong demand from larger, national tenants to increase their footprint outside of central business districts. We see compelling opportunities for growth – both in our existing footprint as well as in select growth markets – and will continue to work with our large corporate partners to deliver solutions to their office needs in the suburbs.”
“In the post, post-pandemic environment where millions of Americans want to work closer to home, with short commutes, more affordable housing, and better schools, coupled with the benefits of fully-amenitized and flexible offices, we know that high-quality suburban office properties are the clear solution for corporations looking to provide a safe, accessible, flexible, lifestyle-oriented, and community-based environment for their employees,“ said Mr. Thomas, Co-Founder, President and COO of Workspace. “The integration of the newly-acquired properties within our national footprint has gone extremely well and we will continue to invest in our properties, our tenant relationships, our brand and in new innovations to deliver the highest quality experience to each of our tenants and their employees.”
More than 66% of the total commercial office inventory in the US is positioned within the suburbs, representing over 2.5 billion square feet. According to a recent CBRE report, the downtown vacancy rate climbed 40 basis points quarter-over-quarter to 17.4%, while the suburban vacancy rate increased by 20 basis points to 16.9% and the third quarter 2022 marked the second consecutive quarter in which the downtown markets surpassed the suburban vacancy rate. CBRE also stated that within a tight labor market and as employers seek to encourage a return to the office, occupiers will seek locations closer to their workforce and have walkable amenities that provide a superior employee experience.
As the company previously stated, Workspace is well-positioned nationally with a strong orientation as a tenant-focused, lifestyle-oriented brand dedicated to supporting the needs of its corporate tenant partners. With services and office solutions designed to provide flexible working locations across its footprint, Workspace can deliver a “network effect,” providing ease of entry for partners with the desire for convenient and attractive locations appealing to their workforce across the country. Workspace maintains a strong commitment to sustainability and reducing its buildings’ carbon footprints to the greatest extent feasible. With an emphasis on appropriate environmental, social and governance standards in operations, Workspace takes its responsibility as thoughtful stewards of the communities it services very seriously.
Newmark Group served as advisor to Workspace on the debt financing. Seyfarth Shaw LLP and McCausland Keen + Buckman served as legal counsel to Workspace.
Workspace Property Trust
Workspace Property Trust is a privately held, vertically integrated, full-service commercial real estate company specializing in the ownership, management, leasing and development of office and light industrial, R&D and flex space across the US. Founded in 2015, as combined Workspace owns and operates approximately 19 million square feet of suburban office and light industrial, R&D, Flex (IRDF) properties in markets across the country, including 14 of the top 20 US metropolitan areas. For more information on Workspace, please visit www.workspaceproperty.com