An eight-building office park in Bentonville is now locally owned following an $11 million acquisition, a sign that investors are still bullish on Benton County’s office market.
Limited liability companies headed by Rogers businessmen Patrick Byrd and Alex Baumeister bought the property known as Bentonville Commerce at 1700-1716 Commerce Drive. The 10.8-acre property — off South Walton Boulevard behind two strip mall centers, the Bentonville Post Office and Burger King — was previously owned by Bentonville Commerce LLC, a company owned by FBE Limited LLC of New York. FBE paid U.S. Bank N.A. $4 million for the development in June 2012.
The buildings have approximately 120,000 square feet combined, which equals a purchase of $91.67 per square foot. The office park’s occupancy rate is 65%. Byrd said additional tenants have already signed leases, and he expects occupancy to rise to 75% by the end of the year.
A loan arranged through Clinton Ryan with Signature Bank of Arkansas in Rogers helped finance the deal.
Byrd and Baumeister are active investors. In early 2017, they acquired Northwest Arkansas’ largest office park for $24.4 million. The 35-building, 383,000-square-foot Beau Terre office park is off Interstate 49 in Bentonville, intersected by Arkansas Highway 72. They also own South Walton Plaza and Agracel Professional Park in Bentonville. The office buildings total approximately 600,000 square feet combined.
Anecdotally, Byrd said leasing activity is picking up.
“We’re having more phone calls and have been fairly busy,” he said. “People can see the end to what is happening right now and [are] wondering what it looks like in the future. They’re trying to figure that out.
“We don’t have a crystal ball, but we know that many people are looking [for office space]. I think it’s looking really good for everybody in Northwest Arkansas.”
Cushman & Wakefield/Sage Partners in Rogers brokered the Bentonville Commerce deal, led by Grady Mathews. Byrd said the firm will retain the leasing rights to the office park.