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British investor pays top dollar for GE Global Operations Center at the Banks

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Posted at 1:22 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 13:22:44-04

CINCINNATI - A real estate investment company based in London has acquired the GE Global Operations Center at the Banks for $107.3 million, a tangible sign of strength in the Cincinnati real estate market.

Not only is the purchase price of $315 per square feet the highest in recent memory, but it could give Banks developer Carter Real Estate more capital to invest in future phases.

“They’ve got a big flood of equity and they’ve proven it’s a viable office location,” said Keith Yearout, managing director of the Cincinnati office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a global real estate advisory firm.

“They’d like to do another office building,” Yearout said. “To this point, they haven’t wanted to do it on a speculative basis.”

But a big return on the GE building could give Carter “a higher comfort level that if they built something, it will be well received.”

Carter’s project manager for the Banks, Dan McCarthy, could not be reached for comment.

The sale to an investment affiliate of 90 North Real Estate Partners LLC closed Oct. 7, according to Hamilton County Real Estate Records. The buyer is a U.K-based real estate investment company with a $1.5 billion portfolio of U.S. office properties in Chicago, Denver, Charlotte and Philadelphia.

“That’s a significant sign to see international capital flowing to Cincinnati,” Yearout said. “Typically, those investors play in gateway markets, on the coasts.”

Yearout said several factors contributed to the lofty price. It’s a single-tenant office property with a long-term lease to highly credit-worthy tenant in GE. It’s also in a premier site on the Cincinnati riverfront.

“If that G.E. building sat in Milford or West Chester, it probably would not have garnered the interest of an international investor,” he said.