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Freighthouse Square being sold to new local owner

Post by Kathleen Cooper / The News Tribune on Sep. 11, 2012 at 11:33 am |
September 11, 2012 11:47 am

By the end of the year, Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square could have a new local owner.

The identity of the potential buyer is a secret, said Ernie Velton, managing broker of Bellevue-based JSH Properties, which has been managing the Dome District icon for about 13 months.

“We had several parties interested. This is who we chose out of the other offers,” Velton told me this morning.

Velton wouldn’t disclose the sale price, or elaborate on whether the potential buyer was one person or an investment group. JSH had listed the property for $2.5 million.

The potential buyers are doing their due diligence, Velton said, and JSH must have the purchase offer approved by a Pierce County Court. After those things are completed, Velton said the potential buyers probably will be comfortable being identified.

JSH took over the building in August 2011 as a general receiver after the previous ownership group defaulted on its loan. Union Bank had started to foreclose, but then decided to ask for a receiver to take over property management and try to sell it.

The company has spent about a half-million dollars on repairs so far, Velton said, including work on the ceiling and heating/air systems of the 103-year-old building. JSH hired a new leasing manager, who in the past year has added at least 5,000 square feet more in tenants – a notable increase considering businesses who lease at Freighthouse tend to take about 200 or 300 square feet at a time.

“In the last couple of days I’ve signed at least three more letters of intent or leases,” Velton said.

Velton said several potential buyers had plans to move their own businesses into the building.

“It was important to us that we choose someone who understood what was going on at Freighthouse and had a lucid vision for Freighthouse,” he said. “We had one guy who said, ‘I just want to tear it down. I think the land is worth more than the whole property.’ I offer that just as an example of an offer we didn’t go with.”

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