Blackbaud Inc.’s charitable arm is rallying around the effort to preserve the Angel Oak on Johns Island by giving other businesses an incentive to kick in some cash.
The Daniel Island-based software company has announced the creation of a $25,000 challenge matching grant for the Lowcountry Open Land Trust, the nonprofit that’s raising money to buy property around the massive Johns Island live oak tree.
In addition to acquiring the first 17-acre parcel, the Charleston-based group hopes to buy and conserve an adjacent 17-acre tract that’s zoned for over 200 commercial and residential units.
Launched in late July, the Preserve Angel Oak effort set a $1.2 million fundraising goal, About 10,000 individuals have participated so far. The campaign was extended to Nov. 21.
“Our charitable giving was fully planned when we saw the outpouring of local support for this Lowcountry treasure,” said Blackbaud finance chief Anthony Boor, who’s also serving as interim CEO. “It became clear, immediately, that Blackbaud could make a real impact on this effort, so we have adjusted our plans and are issuing a challenge grant to encourage other businesses to quickly get involved.”
Blackbaud said it hopes other corporations will dig into their coffers to bring the campaign “to the finish line.” Business donations between now and then can be credited toward the challenge pledge. Gifts can be made online at www.lolt.org.
A North Charleston office building known for its long skylight-lit lobby is trying to put its dark days behind it.
The Atrium, a roughly 60,000-square-foot two-story structure at 7301 Rivers Ave., fell into foreclosure this year after its owners defaulted on a $5.6 million loan from 2004. The total unpaid bill rose to $6.5 million when accrued interest, penalties and other unpaid expenses were factored in, according to court documents.
The 22-year-old multi-tenant building went on the block at a court auction this month. Acquired Capital II LP, an investment firm that purchased the note from the previous lender, recently took ownership.
“We believe it to be an excellent opportunity,” said Ed Hrebenar, senior vice president. “The market in Charleston and the North Charleston sub-market certainly seem strong.”
Stafford, Texas-based Acquired Capital II is part of a family-run operation that buys delinquent loans and other distressed assets from lenders, typically at a deep discount, and seeks to recoup its investment.
“The building has strong bones but is in need of some general maintenance and updates,” Hrebenar said of the Atrium. He also said “a comprehensive marketing plan is still in development.”
“The property is not currently listed for sale, but we are certainly always open to offers,” he said.
Two notable local earnings releases are on the schedule, both involving Daniel Island software businesses.
Blackbaud has scheduled its third-quarter update with Wall Street analysts for Wednesday, its first under interim CEO Anthony Boor. The conference call will start at 8 a.m.
Boor was named interim CEO in late August to replace Marc Chardon, who had announced plans to leave earlier this year. He left Aug. 31. Boor is running the publicly traded company until a permanent top executive is found.
The call should be old hat for him. Boor has participated in previous earnings chats as CFO, a job he still retains.
Less familiar with this dance is Benefitfocus, which listed its stock on the Nasdaq in September. Its first earnings report as a publicly traded company is set for Nov. 7, after U.S. stock markets close. Also, Benefitfocus will hold its inaugural conference call with “the Street” starting at 5 p.m. that day.
It’s not exactly a semester abroad, but a Charleston company that owns and manages apartment buildings across the country is getting an education overseas.
Greystar Real Estate Partners last week closed on its purchase of 21 student housing properties with 6,900 beds in England. It’s the first U.K. acquisition. Most of the properties are in London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
“The portfolio’s high quality buildings and locations, as well as the fact that many of the properties are partnered with outstanding universities, made this an attractive purchase for Greystar,” the downtown-based company said.
It also said it believes that residential properties “in select markets globally are poised to outperform” particularly when plucked from the jaws of distress. Greystar bought the portfolio from a bankruptcy administrator. The previous owner collapsed in March after it was unable to refinance $1.3 billion in debt.
Financial terms were not disclosed. A report in the British website propertyweek.com has estimated the purchase price at around $462 million.
“We are responding to continued strong demand from renters for professionally managed, institutional quality residential communities, and that is our strength,” said Bob Faith, founder and CEO of Greystar.
Faith, who was former Gov. Mark Sanford’s first commerce secretary, said in a September statement that he expected “minor operational differences” between Greystar’s U.S. and European investments.
The firm is the largest U.S. apartment operator, with about 215,000 units under management in more than 100 markets. Locally, Greystar built the newly opened Elan Midtown at Meeting and Spring streets on the peninsula.
New ownership of The Ponds planned community outside Summerville will not stir the waters much.
So says community manager John Morgan. Asked what the future plans are for the 1,950-acre development, he said, “It’s the same to better.”
“There are some very positive things that we will be announcing soon,” he said in an email message.
Florida developer Kolter Acquisitions LLC, is purchasing the community from Upstate-based Greenwood Communities and Resorts. The deal is expected to close in December.
The Ponds is near the headwaters of the Ashley River. It’s approved for 1,950 residences.
Greenwood, which also developed Coosaw Creek Country Club in North Charleston and Beresford Hall on the Cainhoy peninsula, said it’s selling to focus on managing its 2,000-acre oceanfront resort development near Hilton Head Island.
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