Local brokerage sues Nexstar, seeks commission on downtown building sale

Nexstar sold the building in June to Richmond-based Hourigan Development. (BizSense file photo)

The $13 million sale of the former Media General headquarters building has resulted in a lawsuit from a Richmond commercial real estate firm that says it is owed compensation from the media company’s acquirer.

Harrison & Bates, a Richmond CRE firm doing business as Colliers International, alleges in a lawsuit filed Aug. 24 that it is owed a $325,000 commission from Nexstar Media Group, the Texas-based company that purchased Media General in a $4.6 billion deal earlier this year.

The suit claims Colliers was never paid for work it provided Media General to market and find a buyer for its downtown headquarters building at 333 E. Franklin St., which Nexstar sold in June to Richmond-based Hourigan Development.

Colliers was the listing agent on another Media General building at 111 Fourth St., which was listed in 2012 and sold to VCU in 2016. In its suit, Colliers says it provided Media General with similar services for the headquarters building, serving as a “de facto marketing advisor and agent” with the understanding that it would be paid a commission if the building was sold.

The suit claims a commission was or will be paid to fellow commercial real estate firm CBRE for representing the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission in its 10-year lease of part of the building from Hourigan. That lease, reported in May, was contingent on Hourigan closing on the property, which it did June 2 with a purchase price of $13 million, according to city property records.

The suit alleges Media General was aware of and authorized Colliers’ efforts to secure Hourigan as a purchaser for the building, adding that Nexstar has refused to pay the commission Media General officials said Colliers would receive.

The suit alleges eight counts against Nexstar including fraud, unjust enrichment and part performance. It requests a jury trial and seeks payment from Nexstar of 2.5 percent of the gross sales price of the building, or $325,000.

Media General was bought by Nexstar earlier this year. (Jonathan Spiers)

A response to the suit had not been filed in circuit court as of Tuesday. A company spokeswoman said Nexstar does not comment on pending litigation.

The suit was filed on Colliers’ behalf by Andrew Mauck of downtown law firm Mauck & Brooke. A call to Mauck on Tuesday was not returned.

Details in the suit reveal the level of interest, and specific parties interested, in the headquarters building during the process of Nexstar acquiring Media General.

In marketing the property, Colliers claims it drafted proposal requests for Hourigan Construction, Virginia Community College System, Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority and Virginia Premier Insurance.

VEDPA and Virginia Premier Insurance were also given tours of the building, as were American Civil War Center, CoStar Group, an undisclosed 7Hills Advisors prospect, IT outsourcing firm Stefanini, Virginia Community Capital, VCU, and Workers’ Compensation – at least three times, the suit states.

Colliers claims it also toured appraisers for VCU and groups from City of Richmond Economic Development and VEDPA’s economic development team. A tour was also provided to Integra Realty Resources, which Media General used to appraise the building.

The suit alleges that Media General treasurer John Butler and CFO James Woodward requested such work from Colliers, and that Butler had said in a meeting with Workers’ Compensation that if it leased the building from Hourigan after Hourigan purchased the property, CBRE would receive a commission on the lease and Colliers would receive a commission on the sale.

Hourigan constructed the 125,000-square-foot building for Media General in 1998. CEO Mark Hourigan said Nexstar’s remaining employees there are in the process of moving out to make way for Workers’ Compensation, which he said is expected to move its nearly 300-person workforce from its current headquarters at 1000 DMV Drive by the end of the year.

Hourigan said Workers’ Compensation will occupy the bulk of the building, the rest of which will be filled by other state government users. Hourigan said the state Department of General Services is leasing the entire building.

Nexstar sold the building in June to Richmond-based Hourigan Development. (BizSense file photo)

The $13 million sale of the former Media General headquarters building has resulted in a lawsuit from a Richmond commercial real estate firm that says it is owed compensation from the media company’s acquirer.

Harrison & Bates, a Richmond CRE firm doing business as Colliers International, alleges in a lawsuit filed Aug. 24 that it is owed a $325,000 commission from Nexstar Media Group, the Texas-based company that purchased Media General in a $4.6 billion deal earlier this year.

The suit claims Colliers was never paid for work it provided Media General to market and find a buyer for its downtown headquarters building at 333 E. Franklin St., which Nexstar sold in June to Richmond-based Hourigan Development.

Colliers was the listing agent on another Media General building at 111 Fourth St., which was listed in 2012 and sold to VCU in 2016. In its suit, Colliers says it provided Media General with similar services for the headquarters building, serving as a “de facto marketing advisor and agent” with the understanding that it would be paid a commission if the building was sold.

The suit claims a commission was or will be paid to fellow commercial real estate firm CBRE for representing the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission in its 10-year lease of part of the building from Hourigan. That lease, reported in May, was contingent on Hourigan closing on the property, which it did June 2 with a purchase price of $13 million, according to city property records.

The suit alleges Media General was aware of and authorized Colliers’ efforts to secure Hourigan as a purchaser for the building, adding that Nexstar has refused to pay the commission Media General officials said Colliers would receive.

The suit alleges eight counts against Nexstar including fraud, unjust enrichment and part performance. It requests a jury trial and seeks payment from Nexstar of 2.5 percent of the gross sales price of the building, or $325,000.

Media General was bought by Nexstar earlier this year. (Jonathan Spiers)

A response to the suit had not been filed in circuit court as of Tuesday. A company spokeswoman said Nexstar does not comment on pending litigation.

The suit was filed on Colliers’ behalf by Andrew Mauck of downtown law firm Mauck & Brooke. A call to Mauck on Tuesday was not returned.

Details in the suit reveal the level of interest, and specific parties interested, in the headquarters building during the process of Nexstar acquiring Media General.

In marketing the property, Colliers claims it drafted proposal requests for Hourigan Construction, Virginia Community College System, Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority and Virginia Premier Insurance.

VEDPA and Virginia Premier Insurance were also given tours of the building, as were American Civil War Center, CoStar Group, an undisclosed 7Hills Advisors prospect, IT outsourcing firm Stefanini, Virginia Community Capital, VCU, and Workers’ Compensation – at least three times, the suit states.

Colliers claims it also toured appraisers for VCU and groups from City of Richmond Economic Development and VEDPA’s economic development team. A tour was also provided to Integra Realty Resources, which Media General used to appraise the building.

The suit alleges that Media General treasurer John Butler and CFO James Woodward requested such work from Colliers, and that Butler had said in a meeting with Workers’ Compensation that if it leased the building from Hourigan after Hourigan purchased the property, CBRE would receive a commission on the lease and Colliers would receive a commission on the sale.

Hourigan constructed the 125,000-square-foot building for Media General in 1998. CEO Mark Hourigan said Nexstar’s remaining employees there are in the process of moving out to make way for Workers’ Compensation, which he said is expected to move its nearly 300-person workforce from its current headquarters at 1000 DMV Drive by the end of the year.

Hourigan said Workers’ Compensation will occupy the bulk of the building, the rest of which will be filled by other state government users. Hourigan said the state Department of General Services is leasing the entire building.

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Media General acquirer wants local brokerage’s lawsuit tossed - Richmond BizSense
5 years ago

[…] Media Group, which purchased Media General earlier this year, filed a response this month to the suit from Harrison & Bates, a Richmond CRE firm doing business as Colliers International, which alleged it is owed $325,000 […]