Martin Marietta moving in with LaFarge deal

National construction materials producer Martin Marietta has acquired the Front Range assets of LaFarge Aggregates and Concrete in exchange for Martin Marietta’s limestone aggregates business along the Mississippi River.

Under the asset-exchange agreement, which was completed Dec. 9, Raleigh, N.C.-based Martin Marietta received LaFarge’s ready-mix concrete, aggregate and hot mix asphalt and paving assets from Pueblo to Fort Collins, and those in Laramie, Wyo.

Representatives from LaFarge did not return requests for comment.

With the acquisition, Martin Marietta will establish its Rocky Mountain Division, with headquarters in Denver, and will immediately begin relocating employees to Denver to run the operation.

 “We anticipate inheriting several quality people and hope to grow the office over time,´ said Martin Marietta official Bruce Vaio, who will run the operation.
Vaio also is the president of Martin Mariett’a West Group, under which the Rocky Mountain Division will operate.

Talks between the two companies began several months ago, according to Vaio.
“We’re excited about the Northern Colorado market,” he said. “There’s potential for solid, sustainable growth there, and we’re excited to capitalize on that.”

Martin Marietta is the country’s second-largest producer of construction aggregates and operates in 27 states, Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean Islands. LaFarge is an international company headquartered in France with $21 billion in sales in 2010.

In total, Martin Marietta employs approximately 4,500 people and shipped 130 million tons of aggregates in 2010. Net sales in 2010 totaled $1.6 billion, according to the company’s profile.

Chicago-based company looks to Colorado
One of the Chicago area’s fastest-growing companies is looking to open an office in Colorado after entering the Northern Colorado market approximately six months ago.

Schaumburg, Ill.-based Rabine Group recently completed paving work at a Greeley Wal-Mart and is looking to get involved in commercial roofing and paving in the Northern Colorado area, according to Bill Belitz, a Rabine project manager based in Severance.

Company officials are considering purchasing an existing company or starting a new office anywhere between Colorado Springs and Cheyenne in order to grow their presence in the area.

A Rabine satellite office is expected in Colorado or southern Wyoming within a year, Belitz said.

Rabine is doing well in spite of the economy, Belitz said, noting that the company ranked No. 19 on Crain’s Chicago’s Fast Fifty in June. The company provides a range of services from paving construction and maintenance to fuel and oil distribution.

Larimer County sees its largest office transaction year-to-date

An office building that houses Kennedy and Coe and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was sold for approximately $280 per square foot, for a total of $8.3 million.

The 30,000-square-foot building – a Class A structure at 6125 Sky Pond Drive in Loveland – was sold by Greeley-based investment group Big Beaver Properties and purchased by Gravical Real Estate Holdings, another Northern Colorado investment group.

The sale of the property was the largest year-to-date in Larimer County, according to Sperry Van Ness, the brokerage that handled the transaction.

The price-per-square-foot was higher than the average for office buildings in Larimer County, about $120 per square foot, though comparable buildings are sold for prices in the mid-$200s per square foot, according to Mike Eyer, the SVN broker who represented Gravical in the purchase.

The building was able to support its higher price tag because it of its prominent location and high quality of leases, Eyer said. The building is also LEED Silver certified.

Prices of office space are volatile in this market because there are so few transactions, according to Eyer, and just one or two sales can change the average price dramatically.

FHA loan limits to remain low following Congressional vote

Congress has voted to keep Federal Housing Authority loan limits at their current level, 125 percent of the median home price in a given area. The action forestalled a change that was scheduled to occur Oct. 1 that would have decreased loan limits back to pre-2008 levels.

The change would have affected 669 counties nationwide, including Larimer and Weld. The limit for both counties would have fallen to $271,050, down from $312,500 in Larimer County and $$417,000 in Weld.

Mortgage professionals nationwide fought against the change, supporting a bill in the House in July that keeps the loan limits where they are until 2013.

The bill was supported by members of Congress who feared that lowering the limits would increase costs for borrowers and damage the still-fragile housing market.

Molly Armbrister covers real estate for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139 or at marmbrister@ncbr.com.

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