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New owner of old Globe Furniture building pursuing two rental options

The new owner of the building that once housed Globe Fine Furniture, Rezworth Burchenson, has set a two-year timeline to find a tenant for the building, which he plans to rent as is at low rates.

Failing that, his backup plan is for him and his partners to renovate the property and put it back on the rental market at prime rates, he said in an interview with the Financial Gleaner.

Burchenson bought the property in April 2020 from previous owner Vaughn Bignall for $68 million. His immediate plan is to lease the building, located on Constant Spring Road in Kingston to an outsourcing, or BPO, operator.

“We believe the location makes the property a great, long-term investment. It’s on one of the busiest streets in Kingston,” said Burchenson.

The first of his two strategies is finding a BPO operator that is willing to take what’s often referred to as a ‘warm shell’, that is, space that’s rented as is to a tenant, who would then pump their own funds into retrofitting the property to suit their own needs.

The alternative strategy, Burchenson said, would involve changing the aesthetics of the building and renovating into turnkey office space — a project that would be undertaken by himself and undisclosed business partners.

“For example, the building needs to be painted and it needs external rendering. The structure itself is quite solid. So if no BPOs come in the medium term, then renovation works will be done by the owner and his partners to appeal to another part of the market,” he said.

Burchenson is seeking monthly rental of US$6,668, or about $1.03 million in local currency, for a portion of the building. The land itself spans 10,000 square feet, but the building has five floors covering 40,000 square feet.

The property, which has sat idle for more than a decade, was put up for rental at the start of this year and is being marketed as “un-finished” and “will require some attention”. The top floors are also not available, the listing said. However, the prospective tenant will be given the option of renting all the floors.

“Because the building hasn’t been maintained for a while, the top floor is open to weather elements. Nevertheless, I’ve been showing all the floors to prospective tenants for them to make a determination on the property,” the primary real estate agent on the property, Kamille Jackson, told the Financial Gleaner.

She said while she’s had many showings, the property is yet to secure a tenant.

“The rental price is actually very low because we recognise that the building needs work. Normally, move-in-ready buildings in Kingston at locations like this would rent for between US$20 and US$30 per square foot per annum. That means that an old building may go for between US$15 to US$20.

“This is listed at US$4 per square foot because we recognise that there’s work to be done,” Jackson said.

Burchenson is optimistic he will secure a tenant for the building. Still, he’s already working through the renovation budget with his business partners should the preferred strategy fall through.

“We are moving slow because we believe that a BPO will take it, but the target market, should we switch to the renovation option, is to get multiple or a single tenant seeking office spaces. Close by on West Kings House Road, there are quite a number of offices and small businesses, and so the renovation will appeal to that market.

“At that point we would want one tenant per floor, ideally,” he said.

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