Foreclosed business park bought by New York firm

Entranceway of James Business Park in St. Rose.

In a more than $80 million deal, a New York investment management firm has acquired properties in James Business Park in St. Rose.

New York-based Briar Meads Capital Trust, which specializes in distressed properties, acquired the park properties in a sheriff’s sale on May 15.

“These buildings are strategically located, with the James Business Park buildings directly adjacent to Louis Armstrong International Airport and minutes from I-310,” said Briar Meads Managing Director Seth Berkowitz. “We hope to build on the initial influx of new tenants joining us by making the broader region more aware of these Class A buildings and our ability to accommodate all types of warehouse, distribution, flex, and office users big and small, along with our willingness to address individual tenants’ unique needs both at the outset and over time as their business changes.”

The portfolio’s previous owner, The Lighthouse Group, a real estate investment firm also based in New York, financed the buy in 2007 with commercial mortgage-backed securities. When payments came due in 2017, the portfolio went into foreclosure by the bondholders.

Briar Meads acquired the business park as part of a portfolio that also includes buildings in Elmwood Business Park in Jefferson Parish and Industriplex Business Park in Baton Rouge.

Collectively, the James park properties include 23 buildings totaling 1.2 million square feet, which were valued at $85 million at the time of the foreclosure in 2017.

Briar Meads hired Property One Inc. of Metairie to manage the portfolio.

“We think we can significantly enhance the tenant experience.” — Seth Berkowitz

Property One President Paul Dastugue said the area is ready for investment with the new $1.2 billion Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in New Orleans scheduled to open in the fall.

“There is a great potential for growth,” Dastugue said.

Berkowitz praised the location as being “literally right next to the airport.”

Overall, James Business Park features traditional office space, Class A warehouse/flex space, and encompasses more than 100 businesses.

The park’s major tenants include Honeywell, Pentair, ADT, McKesson and Convirgent.

“We think we can significantly enhance the tenant experience,” Berkowitz said. “In the time we’ve owned it, we’ve already attracted a dozen new tenants.”

He said several existing tenants have expressed interest in expanding.


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