Meridian corridor office complex sells for close to $43 million

A private-equity real estate investor has purchased one of the highest-profile office complexes on the North Meridian Street corridor, for close to $43 million.

An affiliate of Philadelphia-based Equus Capital Partners has acquired Meridian Corporate Plaza, a three-building office development right on Carmel’s front doorstep just north of Interstate 465 and between Meridian Street and College Avenue, the firm announced Monday. The complex totals 329,546 square feet and is 93-percent leased.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a source familiar with the transaction told IBJ that the complex sold for $130 to $135 per square foot, or $42.9 million to $44.5 million.

“The transaction provided an opportunity to acquire a top-of-class office park in the affluent city of Carmel at a discount to replacement cost,” said Brant Glomb, a vice president in Equus’ Chicago regional office, who oversaw the transaction for the firm. The purchase closed on Friday.

The Indianapolis office of Jones Lang LaSalle listed the trio of buildings for their former owner, an affiliate of Chicago-based Inland American Real Estate Trust. Jones Lang LaSalle will be in charge of leasing the property under Equus’ ownership.

“It’s a suburban trophy property,” said John Robinson, managing director of JLL’s Indianapolis office. “The thing that we told people was that this property was fundamentally perfect. … It’s high-quality, new suburban construction. Ground zero in the suburban office market is I-465 and Meridian, and it sits at that intersection.”

The complex’s three buildings, which were built at different times, range from three to four stories. The first building was constructed in 1988 and totals about 60,850 square feet, Robinson said. The second and third buildings hit the market in 2006 and 2007, and total 133,399 square feet and 135,296 square feet, respectively.

The buildings' tenants include Guggenheim Insurance, Hartford Insurance, Belden Inc. and Blackbaud Inc.

The complex once housed the headquarters of Indianapolis developer Lauth Group Inc. Inland, a former financial backer of Lauth's, took possession of the buildings as part of the bankruptcy reorganization of Lauth Investment Properties LLC, a Lauth Group affiliate whose bankruptcy reorganization wrapped up in 2011.

Lauth Group since has moved its offices to The Congressional, a 181,000-square-foot office building at 116th Street and Pennsylvania Parkway in Carmel that it bought last year.

Equus has been an active player in the north-side office market for many years. In 2005, it sold The Precedent Office Park, a 1-million-square-foot office complex southeast of East 96th Street and Keystone Avenue, which it had acquired in 1997.

Equus currently owns the Keystone at the Crossing office buildings, which together total more than 1 million square feet. In July, it acquired 4400 W. 96th St., a 97,323-square-foot office/warehouse complex in Carmel.

"We like Indianapolis. We feel like we know it very well and like the fundamentals there," said Joe Neverauskas, a senior vice president for Equus and head of its Chicago regional office. "Today, there is a lack of new construction of quality product in the market, and there is demand for that kind of quality space."

Equus plans to add amenities to Meridian Corporate Plaza, including a new conference facility, fitness center and onsite management office. Cassidy Turley will manage the property for Equus.

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