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BETHPAGE, NY-The US unit of a Canadian automobile insurer has leased 50,000 sf of office space for a regional office here, in a deal negotiated by Wachtler Knopf Equities LLC. Elk Grove Village, IL-based Kingsway America, an assigned-risk insurer that is a unit of Mississauga, Ontario-based Kingsway Financial Services Inc., leased the space at Sterling Corporate Center, located at 999 Stewart Ave. here.

The 250,000-sf, two-building complex, formerly the Robert Plan Building, has been owned by Great Neck, NY-based Sterling Equities since 2006. Robert Rosenbluth of Real Estate Strategies Ltd., of Jericho, NY, represented Kingsway in lease negotiations. Philip Wachtler, principal of WKE, represented the building’s owner.

Wachtler says the property will soon undergo capital improvements to “give it a better look.” He tells GlobeSt.com that Sterling is redoing the whole front entry of the building, have already improved the landscaping and curb appeal and the next phase is to redo the lobby. When asked about the renovation budget, he notes that “we are currently waiting for the final budget numbers for the improvements,” but says it is a significant amount. “We are also upgrading the cafeteria, putting in new bathrooms on the first and second floors, and redoing the signage of the building.”

Asking rent, Wachtler notes, is in the low-$20s per sf, which he says is comparable to other buildings in the area, but he could not disclose taking rent or the aggregate lease value at this time. This is the first tenant in the building, he says, adding that WKE is currently working with another tenant on a lease that will make the property 50% occupied, but he could not disclose the tenant’s identity at this time.

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