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Bank of America Plaza owner in default on $34M loan


By James T. Hammond
jhammond@scbiznews.com
Published March 23, 2011

The owner of the Bank of America Plaza building on Columbia’s Main Street is more than 30 days in default on a $34 million loan on the building, and the securitized loan has been transferred to a “special servicer” to handle its delinquent status, according to data provided by Trepp, a leading data and analytics provider for commercial mortgage-backed securities and commercial real estate finance.

The owner is Cooper Realty Investments Inc. of Rogers, Ariz.

The 302,843-square-foot, 17-story building has Bank of America as its main tenant, occupying 27% of the space. The bank’s lease runs until 2013. The law firm of Turner Padget Graham & Laney P.A. occupies 12% of the building, with a lease running until the end of 2014.

BofA3But the blow to the owner’s financial position on the building came a little more than a year ago, when Edens & Avant vacated the 14% of the building that it occupied. The shopping center owner and developer relocated to the new Main and Gervais building that Holder Properties of Atlanta built a block from the Statehouse.

The Bank of America high-rise is at 1901 Main St., a block from Columbia City Hall, Richland County’s judicial center and the federal courthouse complex. It currently has 61,719 square feet of office space available, according to the leasing agent, NAI Avant of Columbia.

Paul Hartley, leasing agent at NAI Avant, said that as of Tuesday afternoon, he had not spoken with the building’s owner. NAI Avant has leased and managed the building since its construction in 1989.

“You can’t replace a three-floor occupant in this market,” Hartley said. “We have people looking at spaces from 2,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet.”

The Class “A” office complex anchors a city block at the north end of downtown and offers views overlooking the capital city. It is the first existing building in South Carolina to be awarded LEED Gold certification for design, construction and operation.

Real estate sources said the current tenants of Bank of America Plaza are generating lease revenues that amount to 80% of the mortgage payment. Occupancy dropped to 79% when Edens & Avant vacated its 41,620 square feet.

“From the 41,620 square feet, three spaces have been separated and are being marketed, but no prospective tenants,” the special servicer stated this month.

NAI Avant’s Hartley said that “Six months from now, I’d expect we’d be back north of 90% occupancy.”

According to Trepp, which provides commercial mortgage information, analytics and technology to the global securities and investment management industries, the building has an appraised value of $43.5 million, or $143.64 per square foot. Cooper Realty paid $45.5 million for the Columbia property. The company has a $200 million portfolio, with most of its properties in Arkansas and Tennessee.

The Trepp report on the mortgage default says, “Per latest inspection in August 2010, the property has excellent visibility and curb appeal from within the Columbia central business district and surrounding major arterials.”