Through Parma Chevrolet LLC, the Industrial Commercial Properties LLC (ICP) real estate firm has purchased the massive building at 5520 Chevrolet Blvd. for $9.2 million and is undertaking a top-to-bottom refresh of the property. It sounds more like a scene from an HGTV home reno show than what’s typical for converting a former manufacturing plant for new industrial and warehouse users.
“We’re really excited about this,” Chris Semarjian, ICP owner, said in a phone interview. “When we’re done, you will think you are walking in a new building. We’re painting the exterior. We’re removing the overhead pipes. We’re replacing the plumbing. We’ll recondition the floors. We’re going to raise the (quality) of the building a level or more.”
Although the new terminal deprives the 1970-vintage factory of visibility from the street, it also has changed its context.
“It’s a multimillion-dollar investment,” Semarjian said of the truck terminal. “Between that and the adjoining Parma Commerce Center (an industrial park with seven contemporary buildings), we can make the investment to aim higher with this property. It’s a great property due to its location. It has rail service to the building that we can make available once again.”
Semarjian declined to disclose the proposed budget for the improvements or comment on the price disclosed in the Feb. 27 sale, according to Cuyahoga County records. The $9.7 million ICP paid for the property is significantly more than the $4.7 million market value the county assigned to it for property taxes.
The ICP purchase was an unexpected play because the property was already in the hands of a redevelopment concern.
Terry Coyne, a Newmark Knight Frank brokerage vice chairman who heads the industrial unit of its Cleveland office, said, “This is one developer buying from another developer. You never see that.”
Insiders say the property was not for sale and ICP approached the owner about a deal.
Semarjian said the company has done that several times over the past few years “when we have a different idea of a property’s worth than its current owners.”
Joseph Greenberg, a Lee & Associates broker and an investor in the prior ownership, did not return three phone calls and an email from Crain’s Cleveland Business about the sale.
Parma mayor Tim DeGeeter said in a phone interview that the city had not met with ICP by March 10, but he is encouraged by the company’s reputation.
“We’re excited by this investment in Parma,” DeGeeter said, “and look forward to working with ICP to bring more jobs to the city to support our tax base.”
“However, the longer I have been at this,” Semarjian said, “the more I see that marketing of a building will be challenged if you do not invest in it up front. Industrial and warehouse operators are increasingly seeking ‘antiseptic’ space in today’s market.” Semarjian said ICP acquired the Parma plant alone but continues to do deals with IRG when it’s the best way to approach a deal.