In the current economic climate, sometimes the greatest success is in deals that equate to hitting singles and doubles rather than in trying for home runs that are hard to come by.
That has almost always been the approach of the Barber Companies, which is one of downtown’s largest property owners but has opted to do deals as they come rather than tackle much in the way of speculative development.
A new $1.5 million development as part of a block redevelopment in the Lakeview neighborhood is a perfect example.
“We believe in downtown Birmingham and will continue to invest there,” said Charles Miller, president of Barber Companies. “As part of a 30,000-square-foot lease renewal, we are repaving one tenant’s parking area, adding new curbs and islands, and installing new lighting and landscaping. We are also constructing a 7,500-square-foot building for a new tenant, DSI Renal, at the corner of Third Avenue South and 32nd Street.”
The end result will be a transformation of the block between Third and Fourth Avenues South and 32nd and 33rd Streets.
Nashville-based DSI Renal will open a dialysis services clinic on the site, in keeping with the growing number of medical-related companies in that part of downtown. DSI Renal plans to employ around 25 people at the new downtown Birmingham location when it opens early next year.
It’s just the kind of infill development that property owners like Barber hope to bring to life in properties like the ones downtown that may be experiencing their fourth or fifth life.
For instance, the block Barber is working in now is known as Block 479. In the city’s early years, the block was a coal yard. It then became an area for iron works and steel fabrication. In the 1940s and 1950s, it developed into an entertainment venue, with a bowling alley and restaurant.
Now it is in its new life as a center for medical services.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to develop downtown properties or repurpose downtown buildings,” said Merrimon Epps, who handles leasing and development in the area for Barber Companies.
Graham & Co. is coming off a strong third quarter in property sales and leases and said the fourth quarter is looking equally strong.
Graham’s office and industrial brokerage teams combined to complete 14 commercial property sales and 33 lease deals during the third quarter.
The combined value of the third quarter transactions exceeded $27.8 million, Graham said.
Among some of the sales:
• A three-building industrial complex at 200 Parker Drive in Pelham totaling 131,462 square feet on 10 acres. EGS Commercial Real Estate represented the buyer, Faces Inc.
• A 74,800-square-foot, crane-served warehouse in Bessemer at 201 Kilsby Circle on 10.21 acres. The buyer was Precision Grinding Co., which will expand its local operations.
• Office buildings at 400 and 700 Caldwell Trace. The Page T. Smith Foundation purchased the 3,000-square-foot No. 400 building. The American Red Cross bought the 23,470-square-foot No. 700 building; it was represented by Sandner Commercial Real Estate.
• Two industrial buildings in the Academy Drive Industrial Park. One was a 10,800-square-foot building at 1100 Powder Plant Road and the other was a 10,400-square-foot building at 5611 Shirley Park Dr.
On the leasing side, deals included:
• 61,195 square feet of warehouse space at 200 Citation Court, co-brokered with J.H. Berry & Gilbert.
• Representing Atherotech Inc. in an expansion and long-term renewal of 41,000-square-foot office and lab space at 201 London Parkway in the Lakeshore Crossings Business Park. Engel Realty represented the landlord.
• A 27,500-square-foot warehouse at 288 Snow Dr. in Pelham to New Latitudes Moving Co., which is expanding its operations.
• Representing Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP accounting firm in an expansion and renewal of 12,500 square feet of office space at 2140 11th Ave. South, known as the Park Building.
The fourth quarter may bring some bigger projects, according to Mike Graham, president of Graham & Co.
“Our pipeline for the fourth quarter is very strong with some exciting pending projects,” he said.
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