DENVER-SVF Independence Plaza LLC, a fund managed by American Realty Advisors of Glendale, CA, paid $88 million for an 84% interest in Independence Plaza, a class-A building in Downtown. The seller was an affiliate of Denver-based Amstar Group Ltd., a national real estate that owns about $1 billion in commercial buildings.

“A majority partnership interest in Independence Plaza is an excellent addition to our existing portfolio of office properties,” says Greg Blomstrand, senior portfolio manager with American Realty Advisors, which has more than $1.5 billion in its portfolio. “We are very optimistic the Denver CBD leasing market will continue to gain strength and want to be in position with one of the truly quality office buildings when the market fully recovers.”

Completed in 1971, the 567,000-sf Independence Plaza is on a full city block between 16th and 17th streets and between Curtis and Arapahoe, is 25 stories tall and has heated parking for 691 cars. Amstar bought the building in October 1993 and upgraded the building during its ownership with new HVAC mechanical systems, elevator mechanics, common area upgrades and other tenant amenities.

The building initially was called Prudential Plaza, but Amstar changed the name to reflect its western heritage. Tenants at Independence Plaza include Rock Bottom Brewery; Paradise Bakery; Questar; CQG; Shughart, Thomson & Kilroy; Intrawest and AT&T Wireless. The building is currently 90% leased.

“The acquisition of a partnership interest in Independence Plaza allows American Realty Advisors to develop an expanding relationship with the Amstar Group and we hope to do other deals with them in the near future in both Denver and other markets nationally,” Blomstrand adds.

Scott Gibler, Amstar‘s executive director, shares Blomstrand’s sentiments. “Although the Independence Plaza investment doesn’t necessarily indicate this, we have historically been value-added and short-term holders of commercial real estate,” he says. “We have been reluctant to sell our full interest in Independence Plaza because of our long term history with the building and that it’s our corporate headquarters. Selling a partnership interest while continuing to maintain control, achieves our goals of liquidating some of our equity in this property for other investments, controlling our occupancy and maintaining a position in an appreciating asset.”

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