Lumber Liquidators founder sees opportunity in local office building

Where others may see a troubled commercial real estate market, one of the Dayton area’s newest investors says he sees opportunities.

Thomas Sullivan, founder and chairman of Toano, Va.-based Lumber Liquidators, earlier this month bought an office building at 3050 Newmark Drive for $5.85 million.

Sullivan, a Miami Beach, Fla. resident, declined to say how much time he devotes to searching out promising real estate investments, but he said real estate has been an avocation since he was 19 and bought a building in Medfield, Mass., for $1,000 down and $1,000 a month in payments.

“I would rather buy (commercial real estate) when it’s in trouble than when it’s at its peak,” Sullivan, 52, said Tuesday.

Sullivan stressed that Lumber Liquidators had nothing to do with the purchase.

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Lumber Liquidators has a store at 450 Springboro Pike north of the Dayton Mall. Sullivan also owns Cabinets to Go, the kitchen cabinets counterpart to Lumber Liquidators.

The Newmark Drive property is 100 percent leased to PNC Bank with a 10-year triple-net lease, according to a listing for the property. A triple-net lease is an agreement in which the tenant pays all real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance.

The strength and stability of PNC drew Sullivan’s attention, he said. At the end of 2010, PNC Financial Services Group had total revenues of more than $17 billion and a net worth of more than $30 billion. “Especially with PNC, they’re a very strong tenant, and they’re not going to go anywhere,” Sullivan said.

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