Franklin Partners and Colliers team up again


Courtesy Colliers International

Franklin Partners has decided to use the Old Testament wisdom King Solomon suggested as a problem solver — on a building that has sort of a modern-day biblical history. And it won’t be the first time the Chicago-area developer has applied Solomon’s strategy to its holdings here.

Franklin Partners recently purchased the former headquarters of Zondervan Publishing, the world’s leading seller of Bibles and religious books. The building at 5300 Patterson Ave. SE in Cascade Township is huge at 395,000 square feet, and it offers both office and industrial space under its massive roof.

Franklin Partners Principal Donald Shoemaker has decided to act on the advice given to him by Duke Suwyn and split the structure into two separate buildings.

Suwyn, a principal at Colliers International of West Michigan, represented Franklin Partners in the sales transaction.

The Zondervan structure offers 260,000 square feet for manufacturing and 135,000 square feet for office space, but the demand isn’t there for those sprawling dimensions in either sector.

Suwyn recommended Shoemaker downsize the structure by 95,000 square feet and divide the building into two.

Now Franklin Partners plans to offer 200,000 square feet of industrial space in one and 100,000 square feet of Class A office space in the other. That amount of square footage is seen by both Shoemaker and Suwyn as more in line with the market’s demand.

“We saw strong demand and limited supply in both the industrial and office markets. Duke’s vision made sense for making this asset suitable to effectively match the needs of the next occupant,” said Shoemaker in a statement.

Franklin Partners first exercised this strategy in 2003 on a building of biblical proportions when it bought the 915,000-square-foot former Bosch plant at 4700 Broadmoor SE. The firm removed 100,000 square feet for a truck court between the two buildings created by the carve-out. One was sold to X-Rite, and four tenants leased the other.

A few years later, Franklin Partners raised the 16-foot roof on a 324,000-square-foot building at 4247 Eastern Ave. SE to 32 feet. Now the firm is adding another 100,000 square feet to the structure that ABC Automotive Group will occupy.

The acquisition of the Zondervan building marks the 10th that Shoemaker and Martin McCormick, his partner, have purchased in the region.

They entered the local market in 1997 when they bought the former Kelvinator plant at 500 44th St. SW in Wyoming.

Colliers International has represented the company in a majority of its purchases and sales here, including Franklin Partners’ entry into the downtown office market with last year’s purchase of 99 Monroe Ave. NW.

Tom DeBoer and Matt Abraham, of Colliers International, represented the seller — 5300 Patterson Management LLC — in the Zondervan deal. The building had an asking price of $13.5 million. The sale closed in May.

DeBoer and Jason Webb, also of Colliers, will handle the leasing of the office space. Suwyn and Abraham will do the same for the industrial space.

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