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DENVER-ING Clarion provided detail on its acquisition of 44 Cook and 55 Madison yesterday, saying its Lion Value Fund and partners acquired the two office buildings and their parking garage for $52 million. One of its partners in the deal, Schnitzer West, a Seattle-based entity of Portland, OR-based Schnitzer Investment Corp., announced the acquisition last week but declined to reveal the purchase price. The third partner is the seller, Crescent Real Estate Equities LP.

The two class B office buildings total 262,000 sf are located in the Cherry Creek-area. Vacancy is approximately 10%. Ownership plans to invest additional dollars with hope of restoring the buildings to class A status. CB Richard Ellis brokers Mary Sullivan, Ron Urgitus and Tim Swan represented the sellers. Crescent acquired the two buildings in 1997 along with a 15-story, 170,000-sf office building for a total purchase price of $42.7 million.

“Cherry Creek is considered the most prestigious office address in the Denver market,” says ING managing director Steve Latimer. “It is extremely challenging to construct new office product there, due to general lack of available land and the expense of construction. With intelligent investment in the buildings’ systems, and improvements to the aesthetics and amenities, we believe they will be well positioned to serve the needs of the tenant base in the area.”

Schnitzer West is making its first foray into Denver. As part of the deal, Schnitzer opened a property management office in Denver. The five-person office will implement the capital improvement program for the two office buildings as well as offer third-party management services to other firms in the Denver market.

In the Pacific Northwest, Schnitzer owns 3.7 million sf of office, 2.2 million sf of industrial, 305,000 sf of upscale retail and over 1,100 residential condominium units under development. It also manages for third parties an additional 2.5 million sf of office, retail, industrial and bio-tech.

Earlier this month, GlobeSt.com reported on ING’s acquisition of the 347,000-sf Denver Pavilions shopping mall here for $94.5 million in partnership with Gart Properties LLC. Pavilion mall covers two city blocks along the 16th Street Mall, the primary retail, business, and transportation corridor running through Downtown Denver. ING and Denver-based Gart plan to invest an additional $25 million in the mall to pay for renovations and tenant incentives. Last year, the duo acquired the Village Shopping Center in Boulder, CO.

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