By Kathy Canavan
Special to Delaware Business Times
The clearest real estate trend in the third quarter of 2018 was out-of-state investors buying up multimillion-dollar Delaware properties they believed were undervalued.
Two older apartment complexes and a North Wilmington office park each sold for more than $15 million to out-of-state investors.
According to CBRE Research, other top-dollar deals for the quarter include the sale of MBNA's one-time flagship building on Rodney Square and the sale of Courthouse Square, a high-rise adjacent to the New Castle County Courthouse in downtown Wilmington.
Other multimillion-dollar deals include the sales of a Limestone Road apartment complex, the Pencader Corporate Center, Shady Park in Selbyville, the building that houses the New Castle Lowe's store and the Bunker Hill Professional Center in Middletown.
In the two biggest deals, Olive Tree Management of Lakewood, New Jersey, paid $15.8 million for the 156-unit Mill Creek Village (top) apartment complex in Christiana and $15.6 million for the 168-unit Chateau Orleans (bottom) apartment complex in North Wilmington. Mill Creek Village was built in 1973. Chateau Orleans went up in 1967.
The company also paid $11.08 million forLimestone Terrace, a 136-unit apartment complex built on Limestone Road in 1973.
Olive Tree describes its strategy as buying undervalued investments in order to maximize returns for its investors.
Real Capital Solutions, a Colorado private equity real estate firm, paid $12.5 million for the renovated Rockwood Office Park on Carr Road in North Wilmington, a three-building complex constructed in 1986 and renovated in 2006. On the company website, Real Capital Solutions describes itself as a highly entrepreneurial real estate company that buys properties where it can provide added value.
The purchase includes 204,725 square feet of rentable space on a 17.7-acre campus, including parking for 759. Eight of the acres are scenic easements, which are restricted from future development.
Real Capital Solutions also paid $12.5 million for Courthouse Square, a Class A 10-story office building at 600 N. King St., with 162,212 square feet of recently renovated office space.
The former Alico Plaza was rebranded Courthouse Square three years ago to highlight its location adjacent to the New Castle County Courthouse and just across King Street from the Delaware Bar Association offices.
The imposing office building where the late MBNA honcho Charles Cawley once displayed vintage Duesenbergs in the lobby and dotted the executive suite with original Andrew Wyeth paintings was sold to Capital Commercial Investments in August. The Austin, Texas, company purchased Bracebridge I, the Rodney Square corner property at 1100 N. King St., and Bracebridge III on North King Street for a total of $12.5 million. Both are Class A buildings.
On its website, Capital Commercial Investments boasts of "the skill to identify opportunity where others cannot."
According to the website, the company's preferred acquisition is a property selling for $10 million or higher, but it considers properties from a $3 million minimum with no maximum. It boasts the ability to close with all cash for the right property.
At 430,243 square feet total, the Bracebridges are in the company's sweet spot of projects 20,000 square feet to 1 million square feet. Capital Commercial Investments plans to add amenities and lease the buildings, according to CBRE, which brokered the deal.
RHP Properties, the largest privately held owner of manufactured home communities in the U.S., paid $8.96 million for a 69-acre Shady Park mobile home park in Selbyville in August. The Farmington Hills, Michigan, company operates 237 mobile home communities in 24 states, including Wild Meadows in Dover and Murray Manor in Wilmington.
According to the Coastal Point newspaper, the company made an unsolicited offer to buy the property from the Gray family of Selbyville. The family opened the park in 1970 and has operated it for 48 years.
Joshua Mermell, senior vice president of acquisitions for RHP, said the company is looking for more acquisitions in Delaware.
A Wilmington limited liability company dubbed Pencader Equities paid $4.62 million for 111-113 Pencader Drive in Glasgow in August. The deal includes two buildings with 63,000 square feet and an adjacent property.
Greggo & Ferrara, the vertically integrated New Castle heavy construction company that owns its own concrete company and asphalt company, paid $5.5 million for the Hessler Boulevard building that houses Lowe's. The 99,400-square-foot building sold in July.
Investor Thomas Wilcox bought the 14-year-old Bunker Hill Professional Centre II in Middletown in August. He paid $3.9 million for the 20,853-square-foot Class A medical office building on 1.89 acres.