The purchase of six office buildings along West Wilson Bridge Road could be good for the Worthington economy, according to city economic development manager Jeff Harris.
Canada-based real estate investment firm Amcor Holdings Inc. purchased 10 office buildings along I-270 in November.
The portfolio includes the four Officescape buildings, at 350, 400, 450 and 500 W. Wilson Bridge Road; the former AT&T building at 300 W. Wilson Bridge; and the building at 250 Old Wilson Bridge Road. The $25.1 million purchase also included 400 N. Metro Place in Dublin and three buildings in the Corporate Exchange office park in northeast Columbus.
All were sold by Boston-based AEW Capital Management.
Harris said he has met with the new owners and is encouraged by their interest in the area.
"They saw an opportunity in the U.S. This is their first large-scale real estate acquisition here," he said. "They plan to make improvements and fully lease out the spaces."
The vacancy rate along the Wilson Bridge corridor, from the Olentangy Parklands on West Wilson Bridge Road to the railroad tracks on East Wilson Bridge Road, is 16.5 percent.
That rate is approximately equal with the rate in the Columbus metropolitan area, Harris said.
"The new owner sees some opportunity to grow," he said.
The city could consider offering tax incentives to upgrade the aging office buildings, but that issue was not addressed in the meeting with the owners.
"We did leave open the opportunity if they see the need to make improvements," Harris said.
According to its website, Amcor Holdings Inc., which was established in 1996, has become "a leading Canadian real estate investment and management company with professional expertise in all areas of the real estate industry and all types of real estate properties being commercial, offices, industrial and residential."
Amcor Holdings Inc. and its principals own and manage a portfolio of nearly $500 million in real estate assets through partnerships and direct holdings in Canada and the United States, according to its site. Holdings include more than 1,000 apartment units and more than 2 million square feet of commercial real estate, as well as land for development.