If you lease it out, it will sell!
BellCornerstone was hired by GateHouse Media on behalf of Erie Times-News to lease or sell their 88,623 SF building in Erie, PA. This building was built in 1970 and for many years housed the print operation of the respected Erie Times-News. Over the years, the building use changed considerably as headcount decreased and technology improved printing operation efficiency, resulting in a significant amount of unused space. Despite their reduced real estate needs, Erie Times-News was stuck with very expensive occupancy costs and a difficult building to subdivide into leasable space. The challenge was complicated, but the goal was clear: Erie Times-News wanted to right-size their operation in-place while leasing out the available space and ultimately free up capital by selling the building.
The BellCornerstone Approach
BellCornerstone conducted a highly organized digital marketing and telecommunications campaign targeting all potential end-users for the available space. While the initial marketing campaign did not produce a buyer, the telecommunications outreach did successfully identify several prospective tenants. Through careful space planning and creative demising walls, the BellCornerstone team was able to accommodate two new tenants in the extra space. Working hand-in-hand with these new tenants and Erie Times-News, a thoughtful buildout design was created and both leases were executed, totaling over 25,000 SF of leased space. This was a major win for Erie Times-News, significantly offsetting the annual operating expenses for the remaining portion of the building.
The story gets better: immediately after completing the leases, BellCornerstone re-engaged the market and found an investor to buy the property. This provided Erie Times-News with the cash they were looking for, and the new building owner was able to invest in a property with three solid tenants. By finding the right tenants to lease the unused space in the building, BellCornerstone used free rent, sophisticated space planning and a little bit of handholding to make it all come together. It took the right mix of skill, determination and creativity, but the result was a total home run for the client.
"GateHouse engaged BellCornerstone as a vendor for the review of a single transaction in Florida. BellCornerstone's recommendation & creative solutions directly resulted in saving millions of dollars, reducing term, and right sizing our operation. BellCornerstone now represents our portfolio nationwide and is considered among our most trusted advisors."