Oaktree JV buys Tampa tower for $195m

MetLife is unloading the Bank of America Plaza after a string of exits in Tampa, Florida, in a record sale for the city.

Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management has partnered with Miami-based Banyan Street Capital to buy the Bank of America Plaza in Tampa, Florida, for about $195 million from MetLife Real Estate Investors. The deal marks the most expensive transaction in the city’s history.

The 42-story Class A office building, located in downtown Tampa at 101 East Kennedy Boulevard, is 89 percent leased. The 787,000 square foot tower’s amenities include a gourmet coffee-espresso bar, dry cleaners and a hair and nail salon.

CBRE is the broker for the transaction, which is expected to close before the end of the year, sources close to the deal said.

The latest deal would be Banyan Street’s second big play in Tampa this year. In August, it partnered with Los Angeles-based PCCP to buy the 500,000 square foot Rivergate Tower for $70 million, in another deal brokered by CBRE, according to Real Capital Analytics.

While Banyan Street has had an acquisitive few months in Tampa, MetLife has been a net seller in the area. The real estate arm of the Morristown, New Jersey-based insurer started unloading assets in August, when it sold the Tampa Distribution Center for $43.4 million after owning the asset for decades. A joint venture comprising High Street Realty and Grosvenor Fund Management bought the 955,000 square foot property, which at the time was the biggest single-site industrial sale in Tampa in more than five years, according to media reports. In September, MetLife sold the city’s seven-building Center Point Business Park to IP Capital Partners, a firm based in Boca Raton, Florida, for about $21 million, according to Real Capital Analytics.

MetLife is selling assets during a time when Tampa’s office leasing market has picked up steam. The city’s office vacancy rate is 16.5 percent, with 1.5 percent rent growth over the year, according to a third-quarter research report from JLL. The average asking office rent of $22.03 per square foot is the highest since 2009, according to the report.