Walton Street-led JV buys Florida warehouse

The $90m acquisition may represent South Florida’s largest industrial transaction for the year.

A joint venture between Walton Street Capital and Chicago-based Higgins Development Partners has acquired a one million square foot warehouse and office facility outside Hialeah, Florida and 27.3 acres of adjacent, undeveloped land for $90 million (€70 million), according to reports.

The deal may represent South Florida’s industrial deal this year, according to the Miami Herald.

The two partners acquired the property, which is close to Miami’s airport, from ABC Distributing. The building, which is currently vacant, will be called Centergate at Gratigny.

The partnership plans to build 600,000 additional square feet of warehouse and office space and will attempt to lease the existing building immediately. They also hope to begin construction on new buildings within six months, according to the reports.

Coral Gables, Florida-based Fairchild Partners advised the seller in the transaction and will serve as leasing manager of the property. Houston-based Holliday Fenoglio Fowler arranged financing on behalf of the joint venture and also advised the seller.

In related news, Walton Street has also reportedly purchased another Florida property: the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. The private equity real estate firm will take over operations later this month.

The sale price was undisclosed, but local brokers told the Palm Beach Post they expect the private equity giant to overhaul the resort, which they described as in need of upgrades and lacking a clear identity.

PGA National was tapped to host a six-year run of the Honda Golf Classic, which will move from Palm Beach country club Mirasol Sunrise in 2007.

Walton Street closed its fifth private equity real estate fund in June with total commitments of $1.6 billion, more than double the size of its fourth fund, which closed in January 2004 on $742 million.