Mt. Aetna

The Challenge:

The 6,156 acres of Bowater Incorporated’s Mt. Aetna property was one of the largest non-timber tracts sold in Tennessee. As if that wouldn’t make the sale challenging enough, there were several difficult challenges to overcome. Bowater owned only the surface rights to the land, there was an underground coal fire, squatters had been rumored to live on the property for years, and environmental advocates had targeted the property to stop development along the Cumberland Plateau. On top of all that, credit markets at the time were slowing to a standstill. The sale would be complex, to say the least.

The Solution:

Cardinal Real Estate Partners’ Comprehensive Asset Sale™ process gave Bowater total confidence that this transaction would be streamlined, well managed and ultimately successful. We began by getting a complete understanding of Bowater’s objectives for the sale. We then implemented our proprietary underwriting tool, the Due Diligence 360™, to understand everything there was to know about the property, and the challenges associated with it. Engaging national engineering firm ARCADIS, our team worked to unravel those challenges and use the knowledge gained to create an effective marketing plan.

With very few obvious potential buyers in the market, Cardinal Partners researched a national database to compile over 12,000 qualified buyer contacts. We created a website and a secure “war room,” which included over 200 pages of discovery materials, and received over 100 confidentiality agreements within 24 hours of our launch.

mtaetna2_lThe Result:

The deal closed with a strong offer, on time and on budget in the first quarter of the next year – a time when other deals were collapsing and being re-traded left and right. Thanks to our extensive due diligence on the front end, Cardinal was able to usher this deal across the finish line without any last minute re-trades or snags. Feedback from several sources stated that this was among the best land disposition marketing packages they had ever seen.

Real estate transactions can be fraught with frustration and pitfalls.

Sometimes the hardest part turns out to be working with your broker, the person who is supposed to help you through the complexities. Veteran commercial real estate broker and client advisor John Culbertson discovered that brokers’ interests aren’t always aligned with those of their clients. He realized there was a better way to advocate for clients and get the deal done.


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