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BREAKING: Brightpoint moving HQ to Indianapolis

August 1, 2008

Wireless-device distributor Brightpoint Inc. is moving its headquarters from Plainfield to northwest Indianapolis, near where it was founded almost 20 years ago.

The company, which has about 65 headquarters employees and about 1,000 workers in Indiana, plans to share a new building with software developer Interactive Intelligence Inc. and engineering firm Woolpert Inc. along Interstate 465 north of West 71st Street. The space will allow the company to implement an expansion that calls for up to 60 new headquarters employees in the next seven years.

Brightpoint considered moving its home base to other cities, including Dallas, Tampa, Chicago and Phoenix, before settling on a move to Indianapolis, CEO Bob Laikin said in an interview with IBJ. He said the firm did not request or receive incentives to stay.

The publicly traded company, which has about 3,000 employees worldwide, plans to take 37,000 square feet in the 154,000-square-foot office building in Duke Realty Corp.'s Woodland Corporate Park. The new space is about double the size of the company's current home in Plainfield.

That building, the former headquarters of Galyan's Trading Co., has been in receivership since embattled developer Christopher P. White defaulted earlier this year. Regions Financial Corp. owned the note but sold it in July to Edgewood Capital Advisors LLC of Connecticut. Edgewood hopes to sell the 100,000-square-foot building at an auction Aug. 27, said Jon Owens, a principal with the local office of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker who is handling leasing of the property.

The Brightpoint move will leave the building, one of few office complexes in Plainfield, about half empty. The only other tenant, Rolls-Royce Group, occupies 50,000 square feet and has a lease through 2010.

The new building gives Brightpoint more room to expand and is closer to home for most of the firm's headquarters employees, Laikin said. It is just a few blocks from where the company-originally known as Wholesale Cellular USA Inc.-had its first headquarters at 71st Street and Zionsville Road.

The new space also is more functional; the old Galyan's headquarters has open ceilings, is noisy and needs work on its HVAC systems.

"It's a good-looking building from the outside, but functionally for us it didn't work for a variety of reasons," Laikin said.

It makes sense for Brightpoint to have an Indianapolis address and Class A space, said Sam Smith, an office expert and CEO of Resource Commercial Real Estate.

"It's slim-pickings in the Plainfield office-there's nothing there that fits the bill," he said. "The move to Galyan's was a Band-Aid."

There is some dispute over whether Brightpoint is obligated to stay through its lease expiration in 2011. The company had a deal with White, the founder of bankrupt developer Premier Properties USA Inc., to take new office space planned for the Metropolis shopping mall. But White failed to deliver on the new space, and Brightpoint officials believe the default gave them the option to terminate the firm's 16,500-square-foot lease in the former Galyan's headquarters.

Premier and White developed the 18-acre property for Galyan's in 2004 after the city of Plainfield floated an $8 million bond issue to entice the outdoors retailer to move its headquarters there. But a mere six months after Galyan's moved in, Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Goods acquired the local company and moved out. White paid back Plainfield, took title to the property, and tried unsuccessfully to sell it for $8.5 million before opting to lease it out instead.

Demand for office space is growing in Plainfield, where industrial real estate still rules. The Galyan's building is an attractive option, and its interior deficiencies can be corrected, Owens said. The owners are considering new drop ceilings and are performing maintenance on ceiling units Premier hadn't serviced for nine months.

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