July 22, 2015

Despite So Many Players, Really Big Deal Works Out

By Amos Maki
– The Commercial Appeal –

As senior vice president to Boyle Investment Co, Joel Fulmer has worked on some pretty complicated real estate transactions.

But the most recent deal takes the cake: Boyle sold a 535,000 square-foot warehouse occupied by Hunter Fan Co., in Byhalia, Miss., along with the lease on a 400,000 square foot addition to First Industrial Realty Trust Inc., one of the largest publicly traded real estate investment trusts in the county.

Terms of the deal were not released.

Chicago-based First Industrial which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FR, will also develop the addition.

First Industrial leases, develops, buys, sells and manages industrial facilities in the nation’s top 25 industrial markets. It has an office in Nashville.

Hunter Fan cut a 10-year lease on the 535,000 Square-foot facility, along with the 400,000 square-foot addition.

“Isn’t it fun when things work?” Fulmer said. “Because of the demands and special needs of so many involved parties, it was an extremely complex transaction. We were able to achieve a solution that satisfied everyone.”

The 535,000 square-foot facility in Byhalia was purchased by Boyle in 1997 from Memphis-based Thomas & Betts when Boyle developed a build-to-suit headquarters building for Thomas & Betts at Southwind.

Boyle leased the facility to Hunter Fan, which uses the building as its international distribution headquarters.

Founded in 1886 and based in Memphis, Hunter Fan is a leading ceiling Fan manufacturer. The company also manufactures high-performance air purifiers, low maintenance humidifiers, vaporizers, portable fans and energy-saving thermostats. Hunter Fan is owned by Lehman Brothers.

“Our effort here is to get it consolidated into one site so we can maximize efficiency,” said Hunter Fan CFO Dave Wangsness. “We think that is the most efficient way to run the operation.”

Fulmer and Wangsness said it was a deal that worked for everybody involved.

“Boyle was able to make a profit on the purchase of the original building, Hunter Fan Co., got the space it needed at an attractive rent rate and FIRT got a new investment property and a long-term, credit-worthy tenant,” Fulmer said.

Henry Morgan, president of Boyle, said the transaction was remarkable because of the number of moving parts involved.

Boyle worked with Hunter Fan to design the 400,000 square-foot addition, entered into the extended lease agreement and negotiated the sale of the entire package to FIRT. Robert Milner of Colliers Wilkinson Snowden was involved in the negotiation of the lease.

At one point or another in the process, more that 50 people visited the site and were in some way involved in the deal.

“This is one of the most complicated real estate transactions I have ever witnessed,” Morgan said. “It was a amazingly creative process. It is a textbook case for the real estate world.”