It isn't often that the sale of an industrial property makes headlines. But that was the case with the Solyndra manufacturing facility in Fremont, California.
The sale of the controversial Solyndra facility to Seagate Technology, LLC for $90.3 million, or $219 per square foot, was the largest individual industrial real estate sale in the U.S. in January, according to Real Capital Analytics' U.S. Capital Trends Industrial report for the month.
The January sale of the flex/R&D property, described by RCA as a debtor-controlled sale, was the culmination of a political drama that began several years ago, when President Obama visited the plant, which manufactured cylindrical solar panels.
Solyndra spent an estimated $100 million to develop the 411,618-square-foot facility on 30 acres, which was completed in 2010. It became the subject of controversy when Solyndra received a $535 million federal loan guarantee to build the factory as part of the administration's efforts to promote jobs in renewable energy. When the company closed its doors in August 2011, creating a target for the President's opponents.
There were $2.4 billion in sales of properties worth more than $2.5 million in January, 20 percent above January 2012, according to RCA. The gain was the result of portfolio transactions. The overall sales volume for individual properties was flat compared to January 2012.
The industrial component of Realty Income's acquisition of American Realty Capital Trust contributed approximately $860 million to industrial real estate sales volume in January, according to RCA.
Sales of warehouse properties were considerably stronger than for flex properties in January, according to RCA. Flex sales for January totaled about $750 million; the sales volume for warehouses was approximately $1.7 billion.
Average cap rates for all industrial properties was just under 8 percent, while the cap rates for flex space averaged about 8 percent. The cap rate for warehouse properties was about 7.66 percent.
It is common for sales volume of industrial properties to drop between December and January, even though some sellers like to take gains in January, rather than December, according to the RCA report. Despite sellers rushing to close deals in December before an increase in tax rates in 2013, "January volume was resilient and preliminary data for February indicates it will strengthen further," according to RCA.