Major Atlanta Office Buildings Sold

CarrAmerica Realty Corp., a publicly traded real estate investment trust based in Washington, has sold its metro area office buildings and exited the Atlanta market.

VEF Advisors, a local real estate investment firm -- formerly part of Lend Lease Real Estate Investments -- has bought all 15 CarrAmerica office properties here, a total of 1.7 million square feet of space, for $196 million, the companies said.

The portfolio includes Gwinnett County's Midori building and the Embassy Row office park near Ga. 400 in Fulton County, among other properties.

In a robust year for office building sales in metro Atlanta, the CarrAmerica deal is the largest in terms of square footage. Pension fund TIAA-CREF paid the highest price for a local office building this summer, $145 million -- or $343 per square foot -- for Cousins Properties' Pinnacle tower in Buckhead.

CarrAmerica said earlier this year that it wanted to unload its local assets and put money into other markets, including California and Washington, D.C.

The company came to Atlanta in 1996, buying the assets of Peterson Properties. Peterson's founder, Bob Peterson, is now president and chief executive officer of local developer Carter.

Thad Ellis, the most recent local head of CarrAmerica, said in September he would join Advantis Real Estate Services Co. when CarrAmerica completed its sale.

Atlanta's Parthenon Realty will lease and manage the offices for VEF Advisors.