Friday, May 09, 2008

Convention Plaza Development Stalls Out

In September 2006, Saaman Development purchased the two-story, 18,000 sf building at 1335 Convention Plaza and an adjacent 100-car parking lot from Fallon Investments for $1.275 million ($70 psf). The building is just a block away from the Washington Avenue loft district, but is somewhat isolated, surrounded by a sea of parking lots.

At the time, Saaman's Mark Rubin said:

"We don't have any immediate plans for the lot. But, strategically, as other redevelopment occurs downtown, the next natural wave would be new construction, either residential or commercial. The allure of a vacant parking lot is it allows for new construction. There is a contingent out there that wants new construction opposed to rehabbed space, because, obviously, new space gives you a lot more versatility."

I visited Saaman’s web site to see if any announcements had been made regarding this property, only to find that their site is down and the domain is available for sale. Has Saaman gone out of business? A January 2008 article in the Business Journal revealed that the firm was forced to make layoffs due to the slowdown in the housing market, and at the time had just eight employees.

The building and parking lot are listed for sale for $1,650,000 or for lease at $9.25 psf. It was renovated in 1999, and appears to be the victim of an unfortunate recladding job – it would be interesting to see what the original building looks like underneath. City records indicate that it was built in 1927, so perhaps it would be available for historic tax credits.

Don Woehle of CB Richard Ellis is the listing agent – (314) 588-1623.

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