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Pair purchases 12-building park in Solon for $11.5M

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After 30 years of institutional and public real estate company ownership, Raintree Industrial Park in Solon is back in local hands after two below-the-radar 30-somethings snagged it for $11.5 million.

Lowell Mintz and Geoffry Brouman, who operate Titan Realty Co., late last month bought the 12-building portfolio from Chicago-based Equity Commonwealth, the Sam Zell-led realty behemoth aggressively shedding noncore properties in second-tier markets. Equity also is expected by realty insiders to close soon on the sale of the North Point Tower downtown to San Bernardino, Calif.-based Hertz Investment Group.

While Raintree is also huge — half-a-million square feet of rentable industrial and office space — its 1970s-vintage precast construction does not have the glitz and profile of the downtown office building or even as industrial property the newness valued by big-wheel out-of-town real estate investors. But that suits Mintz and Brouman just fine.

“It fits squarely in our portfolio,” Mintz said. “We can buzz there in five minutes.”

Mintz declined to disclose the size of the Solon-based firm’s portfolio but said it includes seven industrial properties in the southeast suburbs, other industrial buildings elsewhere and shopping centers. The stable includes one office building, but he said that sector is not a focus.

Brouman said the duo likes the variety of the buildings — with a range of building sizes and vacancies — as well as the ability to house young companies that may grow into larger properties. As Titan is based in Solon, it’s also a city they know well.

Raintree retained Bob Garber, a principal at the Independence-based Cushman & Wakefield CRESCO brokerage, to represent them exclusively in leasing Raintree Industrial Park because he has handled leasing for them through three prior ownership groups. Garber also represented Equity Commonwealth in the sale, while the buyers represented themselves.

Garber is looking forward to working with the new owners, whom he has known for a decade, and a different approach from local investors than the institutions and real estate investment trusts he previously worked with on the properties. The properties line Naiman Parkway, named for the original owner and builder, Solon real estate developer Joseph Naiman.

“These are back-of–the-napkin guys,” Garber said. “As a small organization, they can be in the park every day. They understand what it takes to do a deal in Cleveland rather than go through committees, make sure it checks every box for the company and matches the pro forma. They can hear about a 3,000-square-foot deal and say, `Let’s do it.’ ”

The portfolio has some space to fill with a 15% vacancy rate. Since Raintree Holdings completed the purchase late last month, the new owners have started a plan to spruce up the park, from engaging a landscaper to removing overgrown shrubbery and repairing parking lots.

The acquisition loan, Mintz said, also includes some funds to make improvements to the buildings and adapt the properties to new tenants.

Mintz, 38, and Brouman, 37, had to be convinced to discuss the acquisition by Garber.

“We realized this is large enough people would want to know about it,” said Mintz, whose sister, Jackie Mintz, serves as vice president of operations. None of the three men would discuss the sale price for the portfolio, which Equity disclosed in its most recent results July 30.

Peggy Dorman, Solon economic development coordinator, said she needed no introduction to Titan’s operators. She said the city has worked with them for years to attract new businesses to their properties.

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