Our acquisitions team works closely with our in-market personnel to pursue deals outside of the traditional channels of commodity offerings; carefully identifying the hallmarks of burgeoning investment submarkets and opportunistically helping owners solve complicated requirements. Our track record is the very flywheel that generates these opportunities, which comes from staying alert to opportunity that flows to us disguised as market intelligence.
When tenants in one of Unico’s buildings in the Denver Tech Center mistakenly received a lender default notice intended for a different tenant in a small neighboring building, Unico’s property management team quickly alerted their acquisition counterparts that a troubled asset situation was unfolding. While this distressed retail asset offered some synergies with our neighboring office tower, the key was the heads-up connection our acquisitions officers made that the private owner of this building was also the owner of the much larger Writer Square – which we coveted for its location and upside levers.
179,271 square feet
Denver, Colo. – LoDo
Our reputation for successfully working through complex deals in one setting often opens opportunities in new settings, as brokers representing owners with complex objectives feel confident in bringing Unico to the table. Fresh off the successful closings of a leasehold interest in need of restructuring and a nearby 180,000 Class B user-building that was being vacated, a brokerage team took notice and approached us about helping a client of theirs who was internally debating an exit but was mindful of tax implications. We were interested in their asset’s South Lake Union location and repositioning potential (which was enriched by a recent up-zone).
63,016 square feet
Seattle, Wash. – South Lake Union
East Boulder Portfolio
Some of our best transactions have taken, quite literally, years to mature. Our acquisitions team established a relationship with the largest office owner in Boulder with whom we discussed acquisition structures on a varying mix of his portfolio. After two years of conversations, we uncovered some of the owner’s motivations to retain employment for his team, keep some of his sale liquidity working at higher interest, and offload a portfolio in another city.
1.1 million square feet
We are steadfast believers in the power of strong locations and how the marriage of submarket fundamentals with appropriately designed product can consistently outperform over time. Unico’s local team had long coveted the RiverTec Building, a perfectly executed historic rehab with easy leasing and low capital requirements. The ownership group, with whom Unico had developed a relationship via a prior transaction, were interested in diversifying their holding without diluting the quality – and in finding a way to transition operation and create partnership flexibility over time. That said, they had a low tax basis that made an asset sale infeasible. Unico had structured its Boutique Office Portfolio with this very circumstance in mind. The owners were able to access a broader commingled pool of like-kind stable assets in “tony” locations without triggering tax by contributing their asset; while Unico was able to offer its BOP investors an off-market route to an irreplaceable and otherwise inaccessible asset.
110,000 square feet
Portland, OR – Pearl District
Pearl Street Portfolio
Boulder, Colorado has been described as “ten square miles surrounded by reality” due its idyllic setting, uncommon wealth, and enviable job creation environment. The heart of Boulder is the Pearl Street Mall, which is its pedestrian mixed-use epicenter. When we became aware that a $91 million portfolio opportunity could be emerging in one of the lightest traded submarkets in the country, we jumped at the chance. The prior owner’s evolving requirements were turning away any and all other potential investors, but Unico saw this as opportunity. A three month process uncovered the need to address tax matters; to acquire entities; to enable the owner to participate in future upside; and to work through an underperforming rent roll. By creatively working through dozens of deal structure iterations, we were able to unlock the investment value of the underlying real estate to produce a 3.2x multiple and 24% IRR.
356,067 square feet
Boulder, Colo. – Pearl Street Mall
Unico had identified Salt Lake City as an undervalued market in the prior investment cycle, yet well located acquisition opportunities remainder scarce. We were particularly interested in participating in the tailwinds offered by the CBD recent investments made in transit, retail, and residential that were creating an urbanization trend clearly playing out elsewhere in the country. The tricks to this complex user-sale were in working through terms for the seller’s leaseback of about 40% of the tower building; in sifting digesting incomplete and oftentimes inaccurate information provided by a non-investor seller; in de-risking the lease-up; in solving an under-parked ratio; and in identifying multiple execution paths for the soon-to-be-vacated data center property.