Ardent Acquires Shopping Centre in Second UK Investment


Ardent Cos. has lined up a $421.8 million mortgage from Morgan Stanley to finance a large office complex in Atlanta’s Buckhead business district that it now owns completely. The floating-rate loan on all 14 buildings at the 2.2 million sf Piedmont Center closed June 25, in conjunction with Ardent’s purchase of the four buildings at the office park that it didn’t own.

Ardent recently moved its headquarters to the complex’s Building One, which is among 10 buildings — totaling 1.7 million sf — that the investment manager acquired via several transactions over the last five years. The firm paid an undisclosed amount last week to buy Buildings Five through Eight, totaling 516,000 sf. The seller was Granite Properties of Plano, Texas. JLL brokered the loan from Morgan Stanley, as part of a recapitalization that enabled Ardent to pay off an unknown amount of maturing debt on the 10 previously owned buildings. It isn’t clear whether Morgan Stanley plans to securitize the debt, syndicate it or keep the entire loan on its balance sheet.

The new mortgage has an initial term of two years, plus three one-year extension options. The loan-to-value ratio is just over 65%, placing Piedmont Center’s value around $650 million. The debt came with a significant amount of future-funding commitments, which the borrower can draw down over time to cover tenant improvements, leasing expenses and upgrades at the business park that are planned or ongoing. They include work on the building facades, common areas and mechanical systems. Ardent also may add some retail space at the complex.

Ardent has owned Buildings 9 through 12, also known as the Fountains, since 2016. It acquired the Commons (Buildings 1 through 4) and a structure dubbed Tower 15 the following year, then bought Tower 14 in 2019. Piedmont Center was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s on roughly 50 acres along Piedmont Road NE. The Class- A office park is just off state Route 9, 7 miles north of downtown Atlanta.

Ardent was founded in 2012 by Matt Shulman, its chief executive and managing partner. It has $1.5 billion of assets under management, including a $725.5 million portfolio of commercial real estate totaling 5.5 million sf. Its Ardent Financial fund unit also originates bridge loans and invests in distressed properties.

By Commercial Mortgage Alert

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