SAN DIEGO — Bowlen Holdings, developer of the First Interstate Plaza downtown, has sold its 25% stake in the 23-story skyscraper to its Canadian-based partner for an undisclosed amount of money.
The sale to Great-West Life Assurance Co. of Winnipeg is a prelude to the outright sale of the 504,000-square-foot building, real estate sources said.
Great-West also is reportedly negotiating with the law firm of Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye to purchase the latter's 25% equity position in the Plaza.
"It's a lot easier for Great-West to sell it if they own the whole thing," said a source familiar with the sale negotiations.
Great-West in June acknowledged that the company had discussed the sale with several interested parties.
Last week, however, Great-West spokesman Dean Murdock refused to confirm whether the building is still on the market.
It is very much for sale, according to several sources involved in the building's operations, and among the interested buyers of the building reportedly are administrators of several pension funds.
The building is about 51% leased, and, at that occupancy rate, "somebody could pay $80 million to $90 million," said a First Interstate Plaza source.
At full occupancy, the building would be worth about $110 million, the source said.
The six-sided, carmine-red granite building opened in December, 1984, at a cost of about $83 million.
Bowlen tried to buy the building from Great-West, but the two companies couldn't agree on terms, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
Great-West's interest in selling the building is part of a previous board of directors mandate to sell off the company's California real estate holdings.
First Interstate Plaza was Bowlen Holdings' only San Diego operation, although the company--owned by Patrick Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos football team--is "looking for projects" in San Diego, according to company officials.