August 28, 2007 in Business

Spokane building sold to investors

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The nearly century-old building that houses the downtown Spokane U.S. Bank branch was recently sold to a Northwest investment partnership.

A limited liability company owned by Mara Gateway, a Bainbridge Island-based group, purchased the 160,000-square-foot building from West Riverside Investors, a Spokane company that includes managing partner Jerry Hagood, a founder of Kiemle & Hagood Co.

Title records show that the downtown property sold last week for $17.6 million.

Mara Gateway consists of two partners, Jim Jensen of Bellevue and Eli Morgan of Portland, and asset manager Lisa Clark of Bainbridge Island.

The partnership was impressed with the historic features of the building and won’t make many changes, Clark said. Kiemle & Hagood, which has managed the property for more than 20 years, will continue running the complex.

The building has 73 suites leased to dozens of tenants, including accountants and law firms.

“We’re just thrilled about the caliber of the tenants we have in the Spokane building,” Clark said.

Hagood said West Riverside Investors bought the building in 1984.

The prominent commercial property, with its 15 stories and mezzanine, was originally constructed for Old National Bank in the early 1900s. Hagood said the investment partners have spent millions of dollars over the years renovating every tenant suite inside the building, installing new elevators and making other interior and exterior improvements.

“In my opinion, this building just keeps getting younger every year, despite its age,” said Hagood.

Now semi-retired, he recalls spending a portion of every day for the past 20 years involved with some aspect of the property.

“Essentially, we’ve just restored and maintained it,” said Hagood, who handled the real estate transaction with Craig Soehren, also of Kiemle & Hagood.

This is the first Spokane property that Mara Gateway, which forms separate limited liability companies to buy properties, has purchased.

The owners have extensive ties to the Northwest, Clark said, and the company is in the process of selling off properties in Texas, California and Hawaii to focus on investments that are closer to home.

They hope to purchase another Spokane building in the near figure.

“We’re excited about the growth potential in Spokane, but it’s also a smaller community,” Clark said, adding that Spokane’s business community fits well with Mara Gateway’s size and company philosophy.

Outside investors have been purchasing an increasing number of Spokane’s commercial properties in the past couple of years.

The Wells Fargo tower on West First Avenue and the Rock Pointe office complex at Washington Street and Boone Avenue, for example, were purchased by Tacoma-based Prium Companies.

Earlier this year, Unico Properties LLC of Seattle purchased the Bank of America Financial Center on West Riverside Avenue.


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