Lower price, new deadline on Olympic Towers

July 14, 2011 Updated Jul 14, 2011 at 9:01 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First - by James Fink

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July 14, 2011 Updated Jul 14, 2011 at 9:01 AM EDT

A reduced asking price coupled with a new deadline for bids has been set by the owners of the Olympic Towers in hopes of attracting serious buyers for the downtown Buffalo building.

The latest "call for offers" - the third such action set by Olympic Towers' ownership group - has set an Aug. 17 deadline for the prominent Buffalo office building. The asking price has been dropped by just over 10 percent to $3.5 million from $3.9 million.

"I'm comfortable that the building has been priced right," said Shana Stegner, a broker with CB Richard Ellis Buffalo, who is handling the sale along with her associate, Sarah Cashimere-Warren. "All serious bids will be looked at."

The 10-story, historic Pearl Street landmark is 76 percent leased, with several tenants including the U.S. Bankruptcy Court the Gourmet Store have renewed leases in the building.

Additionally, a new special servicer, C3 Capital Partners, has taking over as the building's trustee.

"We've positioned the building well," Stegner said.

The latest "call for offers" is part of a continued effort by the building's owners, JPMC 2005-CIBC 12 Olympic Towers LLC, an affiliate of JP Morgan Chase Bank and Chicago's LaSalle Bank, to sell the structure.

Last year, the building was the subject of an online auction that failed to produce an attractive bid. In June 2010, Olympic Towers went back on the market with its $3.9 million asking price, which was roughly $1 million more than the highest online bid for the 173,464-square-foot building.

Despite a healthy tenant roll, anchored by federal leases from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the U.S. Trustees office, there were few interested buyers in the building, which has been mired by a successive series of owners. The building is approximately 76 percent under lease, many with long term pacts.

Most recently, the building was acquired in August 2008 by JPMC 2005-CIBC 12 Olympic Towers LLC, an affiliate of JP Morgan Chase Bank and Chicago's LaSalle Bank. JPMC 2005-CIBC 12 Olympic Towers paid $8.46 million, buying from Elman Buffalo Associates LLC. Elman had $11.2 million when it bought the building in late 1998.

The JPMC sale was part of a complex legal action, and eventual foreclosure action led by LaSalle Bank. LaSalle had been attempting to recoup an $8.3 million that JP Morgan Chase Bank originated in 2005.

Constructed a century ago and renovated and expanded in 1987, Olympic Towers sits just behind the Hyatt Regency Buffalo hotel and neighbors the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center - giving it a prime downtown location.

JPMC 2005-CIBC 12 Olympic Towers LLC has spent the last three years renovating the building.

Stegner has been marketing the building, which is actually two towers connected by a center atrium, locally and nationally.

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