Walker, Aprimo kick-start 2006 office leasing: Meridian corridor in Carmel remains hot spot

Keywords Real Estate

A little more than two months into the new year, deals destined to be among the largest office leases of 2006 are coming together on the far-north side.

Two big tenants are headed for speculative office buildings under construction by Duke Realty Corp. and Lauth Property Group Inc.

Software maker Aprimo Inc. will nearly triple its office space at Duke’s Parkwood Crossing when it moves into 42,400 square feet at Nine Parkwood at 96th Street and College Avenue.

Aprimo, housed at Five Parkwood since its founding in 1998, has been on an expansion spree fueled by acquisitions. In March 2005, Aprimo bought a marketing-software business of New York-based DoubleClick Inc. for $16.5 million in cash.

At Lauth’s Meridian Corporate Plaza, Walker Information Services recently inked a deal for 45,000 square feet at MCP 2, a 140,000-square-foot building under construction next to Lauth’s headquarters on Pennsylvania Parkway in Carmel. Walker will vacate its current headquarters at Precedent Office Park.

In addition, the law firm Bose McKinney & Evans LLP intends to move its north-side office from Parkwood to about 10,000 square feet in MCP 2, said Jim Carlino, a partner at the law firm who serves on the firm’s space planning committee.

That and a recently signed 18,000-square-foot lease for Pillar Investments Inc. bring MCP 2 to more than 70-percent leased with seven months of construction left, said Taggart Birge, Lauth vice president and market officer.

“It’s just the strength of this market,” said Birge, a former Bose McKinney attorney who joined Lauth in 2005. “A lot of people are drawn to this area.”

Birge said that if leasing continues at its current pace, Lauth may start construction on MCP 3, another 140,000-square-foot office building, as soon as spring 2007.

Six of the 10 largest office leases signed in 2005 were for buildings in the Meridian and Keystone submarkets. Recent activity suggests momentum in the far-north office markets will continue through 2006 and into 2007.

One of the biggest fish yet to be hooked is Ingersoll Rand Co., which is looking for 100,000 square feet in the Meridian corridor. The Bermuda-based manufacturer wants to consolidate its local engineering, financial and sales operations into one location.

Several local sources said Ingersoll Rand is close to a deal to purchase a 116,000-square-foot, three-building complex owned by Conseco Inc. at 11815 and 11825 N. Pennsylvania St.

The complex is one of four Conseco properties listed by locally based Resource Commercial Real Estate. Conseco is also selling a 105,000-square-foot building at 550 Congressional Blvd. and two separate land parcels totaling 35 acres.

Resource principal Samuel F. Smith II said none of the properties is under contract. He said there are “offers going back and forth” on some of them, but wouldn’t confirm Ingersoll Rand is among the interested parties. Developers and investors have expressed interest in 550 Congressional, he said.

With the notable exception of Aprimo, most other users in the market for space are looking to move or consolidate, not expand, which will leave behind holes to fill in older buildings.

Those vacancies aren’t expected to deter 2006 and 2007, according to estimates from the local office of St. Louis-based Colliers Turley Martin Tucker.

developers, however. More than 975,000

square feet of new office space, most of it

in the northern suburbs, could be built in

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