BOB CHUVALA, FAIRFIELD COUNTY BUSINESS JOURNAL, JULY 22, 2006
Former Union Carbide corporate headquarters.
Owners of the 1.3-million-square-foot Corporate Center on Danbury’s west side are studying their options, including whether to sell the former Union Carbide corporate headquarters, after they take full control of the building Jan. 1.
“We’re investigating all our options on that property,” Richard Reeves, president of Sunbelt Management Co. in Delray Beach, Fla., told the Fairfield County Business Journal. Sunbelt is a privately held real estate investment firm that acquired the property in 1986; Carbide, later bought by Dow Chemical, signed a master lease for the building and subleased space as the company was dismantled.
Reeves said options include selling the property, refinancing it, continuing to own it “longer term” and fully leasing it, and building another 200,000 square feet of office space on the 100-acre site. “We’re discussing all these options with different groups,” he said. “There is interest at every level, from buying to leasing to developing our development sites. That’s quite a hot area, with all the other developers in the site.”
The Corporate Center property is surrounded by another 400 woodland acres called The Reserve that is being carved into three projects that will include 2,130 luxury condominiums and apartments, and office buildings, shops and restaurants.
Carbide’s master lease on the building expires on Dec. 31, and companies now leasing space in the building – including Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and the global headquarters of Praxair Inc. – will be subleasing their space from Carbide until then.
“We’ve done more than 600,000 square feet of leasing over the last two years,” Reeves said. “We didn’t want to take it over vacant.”
The building is about 65 percent leased, he said. “That’s pretty spectacular given the history of this building, which was designed as a corporate headquarters.” The leases, some of which don’t begin until Jan. 1, “are a mixture of long- and intermediate- and short-term in a great mix of expirations.”
Reeves said Sunbelt will continue studying its options for the next few months. “We probably won’t be making up our mind until close to the end of the year.”