When Intercontinental Exchange Group (ICE) was nearing the lease expiration on its Atlanta headquarters, the firm considered buying property for the first time. In 2013, the company, a leading global network of exchanges and clearinghouses for financial and commodity markets, acquired NYSE Euronext, the world’s most high-profile stock exchange, transforming ICE into a global powerhouse. The company turned to CBRE, which had assisted ICE with its real estate interests for more than a decade, to help guide its decision-making.
Doug Foley, ICE’s Senior Vice President of HR and Administration, said the firm had never undertaken a truly complex real estate transaction. “CBRE helped us understand our options and inform our thinking,” he noted. “They painted the picture of alternatives across the spectrum of lease, build and buy, and educated us on the intricacies of various options. They had the platform, tools and knowledge to help us at every turn.”
Over a two-year period, CBRE Brokerage, Agency Leasing, Capital Markets, Asset Services and Financial Consulting teams collaborated to identify, evaluate and execute the right solution. “We knew they were happy with their location and did not want to disrupt their team by moving too far away,” said Leigh Martin, Senior Vice President. “But it did not initially appear there was going to be a good alternative in the immediate vicinity.”
CBRE ultimately created the solution, finding an off-market, Class A office building at 5660 New Northside Drive. “We had combed the area for quite some time and had ongoing discussions with the building agent, who represented it only as a leasing solution,” said Martin. “However, upon further investigation and with valuable insight from our Capital Markets team, which had a relationship with the owner, and from our Agency Leasing group, which had intimate knowledge of the submarket dynamics from an owner’s perspective, it was discovered that the owner would in fact sell the building. At that point we were able to move quickly and complete the deal.”
CBRE’s Asset Services team assisted ICE during the due diligence process. The 272,000-square-foot facility offers ICE room for expansion within the building, as well as an adjacent development site.
“We took a lot of comfort in the fact that CBRE is a one-stop shop,” Foley said. “We looked at a number of alternatives, and they did all of the modeling and provided tactical support. When we were looking at multi-tenant buildings, we talked to the Leasing team to help us understand how it might look to run such a building. They evaluated the financials on buildings, did the physical due diligence, and had engineers and various experts to help identify issues or opportunities with whatever option we were considering.“
“CBRE was also fantastic with market insight,” Foley added. “They knew the building owners, financing entities and tenants, and understood how the market was evolving and what was coming down the pike. They always had us at the right place at the right time. We never got in a situation where we were competing against a third party for any real estate, because CBRE got us there first. Leigh brought to bear all of CBRE’s resources to connect the dots throughout the process. It was a top-shelf experience from start to finish, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with CBRE.”