Michelin North America
John Fort received a phone call one afternoon from an unidentified person who indicated he needed to find some industrial property and asked John to meet him in Greenville. This person turned out to be the real estate manager for Michelin North America. After introductions and discussions on the importance of confidentiality, Michelin's representative explained their need for a site for a research and development facility. John quickly went to work and found a site that Michelin purchased at I-85 and S.C. 290 between Greenville and Spartanburg. Michelin subsequently built an R and D facility at this location for their entry into the retread tire business.
Michelin was so satisfied with our work that shortly thereafter they called John up with another major assignment. They needed 300,000 square feet of distribution space and they needed it quick. John researched the market and evaluated a number of candidate buildings. Michelin liked one of the choices and leased two adjoining state-of-the-art distribution facilities in Spartanburg. Another problem solved.
Several years later Michelin contacted John about locating a site for a company owned distribution center in upstate South Carolina. Michelin's logistics experts had determined that they needed to consolidate their numerous distribution locations into a smaller number of very large--1,000,000 square feet and up--distribution centers across the country. John's work locally led them to purchase 48 acres near I-385 in Laurens County, south of Greenville. Michelin constructed an 800,000 sq. ft. distribution center on this site that they later expanded to 1,400,000 sq. ft. before selling it to a logistics company and leasing back space.
What did we learn from our work for Michelin? First, when opportunity knocks, you need to be prepared, and we are. Second, good work leads to more good work.
The Point Development
John Fort had successfully assisted a Florida developer in procuring sites for several large residential and industrial developments in Greenville. This same client was also seeking to develop a large, mixed-use project in the Greenville-Spartanburg market.
John presented the former Celanese chemical plant site to his client. This 280 acre site at I-85 and Woodruff Road had been vacant and unsold for many years due to environmental problems. Since the client had successfully developed a similar problem site in Miami, he contracted to buy the property and following a lengthy due diligence, purchased the property. After a number of steps forward, then backward, and after several ownership changes, the development known as The Point is now the largest mixed-use development in upstate South Carolina with retail, hospitality, office and multi-family land uses representing hundreds of millions in development value.
Our vision and belief in this site and location, and the developer's persistence and problem solving skills, helped make The Point a reality and a major asset for Greenville and the entire upstate of South Carolina.
RMT, Inc, a national environmental firm, hired First Commercial Realty as tenant representative to relocate their regional headquarters offices in Greenville. The company had occupied 60,000 sq. ft. as a single tenant in another location in Greenville and needed to downsize their operations.
First Commercial Realty developed a Request for Proposals that was sent out to Landlords for five prospective office buildings. Upon receipt of the landlord proposals, we prepared qualitative and quantitative analyses of the choices and assisted RMT in ranking the properties. RMT selected Patewood Executive Park in Greenville for its new headquarters and signed a long term lease for 35,000 square feet.
Besides gathering and analyzing all the data to help RMT in their decision making, we helped negotiate the new lease and provided advice and recommendations on proven vendors for space planning, office furniture and systems, moving , and communications wiring.
RMT is only one of many satisfied office clients that have benefited from our tenant representation services.
River Shoals Residential
First Commercial Realty had just sold a land tract for one of its best clients that yielded substantial capital gains. We were looking for acceptable properties for a 1031 tax deferred exchange when our client learned of another local land investor who had assembled 320 acres in the Simpsonville area. We evaluated the property and shortly thereafter recommended it be purchased.
First Commercial Realty brought the parties together and our client exchanged into a 50 percent interest in this large tract. We then represented the new partnership in marketing the land for potential residential development, coordinating master planning and rezoning of the property to a much higher residential density. During this period our company also succeeded in efforts to prevent the regionâ€™s largest electrical utility from traversing the middle of the tract with large high tension utility lines and towers, helping save the property from a major devaluation.
Over a period of five years we succeeded in reselling the 320 acres in two transactions, to two different residential developers, doubling the partnershipâ€™s original investment. This is another great example of how our expertise and experience can create large investment returns. This type success is a learned art, not a science, that has taken us decades of experience to develop.
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box, Inc., a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain with a large presence west of the Mississippi River, made a strategic decision to enter the Southeast de novo and to locate stores in select markets in the Carolinas and Tennessee. John Fort was hired to represent the company in procuring sites in parts of western North Carolina and the Greenville-Spartanburg market.
In an 18 month time frame, we researched and helped Jack in the Box acquire 12 QSR sites in upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.
This assignment required in-depth, existing knowledge of the desired markets and the ability to identify and negotiate contractual terms for multiple sites on a fast track basis. Our proven knowledge and skills in the understanding and use of demographics and traffic patterns, as well as site development parameters for retail outparcels, allowed Jack in the Box to meet their site acquisition requirements and be in operations in all 12 restaurants in record time.
Belk Stores, a large regional department store chain, had their regional office headquarters in a historic 3 story property in downtown Greenville. The property consisted of two separate buildings connected by a common, conditioned atrium.
Our services included research to establish its appropriate market value as well as preparation of a marketing plan that identified targeted uses and prospects. The entire property was sold to a local developer who renovated the building facing Main Street into a modern, mixed use development with retail, office, and residential uses. We then represented the buyer/developer in reselling the rear building to a party who converted it into office condominiums and sold individual floors.
This assignment called for significant "thinking outside the box" and aggressive, planned marketing to bring the right parties to the table. The results were two satisfied sellers and two very attractive renovated buildings in Greenville's beautiful Downtown.