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Zell/Merrill Lynch purchases 3 more Stamford buildings.

After purchasing three more office buildings in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, an equity fund led by bottom fisher Samuel Zell is now the largest commercial property owner in the suburbs.

Zell/Merrill Lynch Real Estate Opportunity Partners Limited Partnership II last week acquired Four Stamford Forum, Six Stamford Forum and 300 Atlantic Street from affiliates of Citicorp for $90.05 million. The properties total 750,000 square feet.

All developed during the late 80's by F.D. Rich Company, the buildings were taken over by Citicorp in mid-1990. At that time, sources say, they were 50 percent occupied. After some $10 million in commissions and tenant improvements invested by Citicorp, the properties are currently 80 percent leased.

Eighty percent seller financing was provided by Citicorp.

Holdings for the Zell/Merrill Lynch fund in Stamford now total five buildings and 1.2 million square feet. The fund now owns roughly 20 percent of the commercial space in the Central Business District making the it the largest office landlord in Stamford.

In December, the fund, with an excess of $400 million in equit capital to invest on U.S. real estate, paid $40 million for Canterbury Green and 301 Treser Boulevard, formerly Eight Stamford Forum, both of which had fallen into the hands of Bank of New York affiliates. Those purchases totalled 550,000 square feet of commercial, residential and retail space.

Brian Lipson, vice president of Acquisitions for Zell, said the firm has zeroed in on Stamford because it is one of the best locations, outside of Manhattan, for high-quality, multi-tenanted office buildings, which is the target of the fund.

"If it's not the best, it's among the best," he said.

Lipson said the firm is expecting make a purchase of one or more major properties in Manhattan shortly.

"We are continuing our efforts to identify them and acquire them... The timeline of these transactions if really quite long," Lipson said. "There really have been very few larger multi-tenanted office buildings trading in Midtown."

Four and Six Stamford Forum, completed in 1986by F.D. Rich Company are 16-story buildings comprising 47,000 square feet. The three Forum Buildings were the centerpiece of the new downtown Central Business District created by the Urban Redevelopment Commission. The buildings are built above three ]eveIs of parking and share a four-acre landscaped plaza.

Built in 1987 by F .D. Rich Company the 13-story 300 Atlantic Street is located at the intersection of Atlantic Street and Tresser Boulevard.

Tenants of the buildings include Price Waterhouse St Co., Maclean Hunter Media, ABB Financial Services, American Tobacco Co., and Johnson & Higgins.

Developed by David Crandall and JC Penney Real Estate, Canterbury Green with 230,000 square feet, is the first mixed-use commercial and residential complex to be built in Stamford.

301 Tresser Boulevard, formerly Eight Stamford Forum, was developed by F.D. Rich in 1981. The 242,000-square foot property was served as the headquarters for Singer Co. umil 1989. The Bank of New York foreclosed on the Property in 1991.

The fund's first purchase Fairfield County was Shelton Pointe, a 162,000square-foot office building in Shelton.

It has been reported previously that a third Zell/Merrill Lynch fund is being prepared.
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Title Annotation:Zell/Merrill Lynch Real Estate Opportunity Partners Limited Partnership II; Stamford, Connecticut
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Apr 7, 1993
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