In what brokers are calling the largest real estate transaction involving a single-tenant Home Depot retail property in history, a Connecticut investor has paid $55 million to purchase the land and building that houses one of the home improvement and retailing giant’s newest and largest stores, located in a suburb of New Orleans, Colliers International has announced.

“I cannot remember another single, net-lease transaction ever trading at this price,” stated Colliers’ Eric Carlton, a retail specialist who spearheaded the team that represented the seller of the property.

In this off-market transaction, the buyer was a private investment group that had been the runner-up bidder to purchase a Walmart site sold by the same Colliers International team in Massachusetts a month earlier. The seller was Kids Kake LLC.

It was that fact and the investment group’s large 1031 exchange requirement that played key roles in it acquiring the Home Depot site, according to Carlton, who represented the property owners in this sale and in the previous Walmart transaction.

“If the buyer hadn’t placed a bid to purchase the Walmart site last month, we would not have known about their deadlines or their need to fill their pending 1031 exchange portfolio,” said Carlton. “Despite a very tight deadline, the timing was right, the credit strength of the tenant was obvious, and size of the deal filled a large portion of the exchange portfolio, all of which created a perfect scenario for both the buyer and seller.”

Located on nearly 13 acres along one of the most heavily-trafficked thoroughfares in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, Home Depot built and opened the 142,727-square-foot store in January of 2013. With a 20-year lease, Home Depot has 10 five-year options to renew, all of which were further inducements that attracted attention from investors, according to Carlton. The cap rate was 6.35%.

Additionally, when reviewing the transaction’s finer details, other considerations that stand out to Carlton and other experts include the location of this sale in a state whose economy was ravaged by the twin punches of the The Great Recession of 2008 and Hurricane Katrina, the effects of which still can be seen in areas surrounding New Orleans.

“A brand new Home Depot like this, coupled with the investor interest we were able to generate as evidenced by the multiple offers we received, all point to a more positive economic outlook in a state that has really suffered more than its share economically,” said Carlton. “To say this is the highest price ever paid for a Home Depot site would be significant anywhere, but its significance grows when you realize that it took place not where you’d likely expect it to take place – not in California, not in New York, not in Florida where land prices are the highest and the populations are the densest -- but in Louisiana and just outside the City of New Orleans. We were glad to be part of it.”

Colliers’ Carlton spearheaded the team representing the property’s owner-seller. He was joined on that team by New York-based Geoffrey Rice of Rice Realty and Richard Liddell, an independent real estate consultant based in New Orleans.

In the earlier Walmart transaction that was finalized last month, Carlton negotiated a $10.675 million transaction between two New York-based investors in another 1031 property exchange. Walmart had recently signed a 20-year ground lease on a parcel adjacent to Swansea Mall in Massachusetts where it had long had a presence. After several years of improving sales and a growing customer base, the company decided to replace its in-line store with a free-standing Walmart Superstore, Carlton noted.

Based in Colliers International’s Irvine, California offices, Carlton is an Associate Vice President and partner with Executive Vice President Jereme Snyder. Together, they are part of the Snyder/Carlton Retail Team, which is among the global brokerage company’s top performing net-lease groups.