ATRS Sells Crescent Center in Memphis for $63 Million

The largest pension fund in Arkansas continued to pare its commercial real estate holdings in a $63 million office building sale.

Arkansas Teacher Retirement System was the majority owner of the 338,396-SF Crescent Center in east Memphis, sold to IPC US REIT of Toronto. The Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust took ownership in the name of IPC Crescent Center LLC.

ATRS owned the nine-story project in a joint venture with Cooper Realty Investments Inc. of Rogers. CRI was the managing partner, overseeing leasing and property management at the development.

That joint venture arrangement extended to the 162,000-SF Forum I, another east Memphis office project.

The Forum sold for $19.2 million in July. It was purchased for $16.5 million in May 2001. The joint venture acquired the Crescent Center for $38.5 million, also in May 2001.

Ownership of the two buildings was originally split 80/20 between ATRS and Cooper Realty.

The pension fund's ownership declined to 66.24 percent after ATRS officials opted not to invest an additional $3 million to pay for improvements and leasing costs. Cooper Realty shouldered the full brunt of the cash call and increased its original 20 percent stake to 33.7 percent.

The pension fund originally invested nearly $14.4 million in May 2001 to acquire its 80 percent share of the Crescent Center and Forum I.

Officials at the $9 billion-asset pension hope to sell other real estate holdings including Two Financial Centre.

The 118,000-SF office building in west Little Rock was bought by another ATRS-Cooper Realty joint venture in May 2000 for $9.7 million.

A third ATRS-Cooper Realty joint venture owns The American Center I & II in Nashville, Tenn. The 412,600-SF office complex was purchased for $71 million in December 2000.

For now, the pension fund and Cooper intend to continue owning this property.

Cooper Realty, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cooper Communities Inc., owns and manages more than 3 million SF of commercial space in Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina.