Northwest Arkansas investors buy Beau Terre office park for $24.4 million

by Paul Gatling ( 2,056 views 

For the second time in a week, a commercial real estate purchase in Bentonville has topped $20 million.

Beau Terre, Northwest Arkansas’ largest office park, is now locally owned after being acquired for $24.4 million. The paperwork was filed at the Benton County Courthouse on Wednesday (April 19). It comes five days after a $25.1 million deal was closed transferring ownership of nine office buildings that make up the Bentonville South Industrial Park along Otis Corley Drive, just off Southeast 28th Street. Both Class B office developments are filled primarily by Wal-Mart Stores suppliers.

Limited liability companies that include Patrick Byrd and Alex Baumeister, both of Rogers, and brothers Steven, Justin and Dallas Forsgren of Fort Smith — who own Forsgren Inc. general contractors — are the new owners of Beau Terre, which opened its doors two decades ago as the first office park specifically for vendors to Wal-Mart. The 35-building, 383,000-SF office park is just off Interstate 49 in Bentonville, intersected by Arkansas Highway 72. The park also includes onsite conveniences for tenants to take advantage of, including a daycare and fitness center, hotel and restaurant.

The purchase price comes out to $63.70 per square foot. A five-year, $20.4 million mortgage from First National Bank of Fort Smith helped finance the acquisition. Granite Beau Terre Holdings LLC, an investment group managed by Sabal Financial Group LP, a Los Angeles-lender and distressed-debt investor, was the previous owner, acquiring the 79-acre property in September 2014 for $21.75 million.

Byrd, CEO of Bentonville retail services firm 1912 Walton, said Beau Terre is about 70% occupied. 1912 Walton is one of the tenants, relocating recently from a North Walton Boulevard address.

“Anytime you can buy property in Bentonville, Arkansas, it’s a good idea,” said Byrd, an active real estate investor for several years. He manages a large portfolio of real estate for several groups of people who own storage facilities, offices and duplexes. “North Bentonville, especially, is a growing area and we’re excited to have it. People need to come out and see that it’s not the old Beau Terre. It’s really, really nice out here. We’re focused on growing and providing value to our tenants.”

Patrick Byrd

Beau Terre was developed and opened in October 1994 by former Wal-Mart executive Colon Washburn and his wife, Dana Washburn, who also spent several years in merchandising, working for Sam’s Club.

They later sold the development in June 2004 for $56.2 million to Behringer Harvard Funds of Dallas. Sabal bought the office park from Maryland-based CWCapital Asset Management, a special servicer that took the title of the property in the fall of 2011 in a foreclosure sale after Behringer Harvard defaulted on a $33 million loan tied to the property.

Byrd said Beau Terre has 76 tenants including Maple Rugs, Helen of Troy, Accenture, Regus and Dean Foods. He said he wants to add to the tenant roster, and not just with Wal-Mart vendors.

“We are getting phone calls from non-suppliers as well who are looking for space,” Byrd said.

The new owners are also planning to make some infrastructure and aesthetic updates, Byrd said. Because there are a large number of tenants at Beau Terre who do business with Wal-Mart, he said the idea of developing some type of shuttle program is also being discussed. It would make stops at numerous Wal-Mart locations through the city (Home Office, Layout Center, etc.), where parking can be difficult at times.

Byrd said he’s also looking into making Beau Terre’s leasing office a centralized drop-off point for Chef Shuttle, a restaurant delivery service.

Byrd said Colliers International in Rogers will continue as Beau Terre’s property management and leasing agent.