Old Citibank property purchase had Neighbors sweating over ‘tight’ deal
February 27, 2013
The man who pulled the trigger on buying the old Citibank property in downtown Carson City said it’s in terrible shape, and it could take at least a year to put it in marketable condition.Despite that assessment of Steve Neighbors — he manages the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation, which made the $900,000 purchase — Mayor Robert Crowell and others embraced the news.“The acquisition of that building will be a great help in enhancing our downtown,” Crowell said. “It will be another empty building filled.”“Is that a plus?” Supervisor Karen Abowd asked rhetorically. “Absolutely, because they won’t sit on it.”She expressed hope it could evolve into space for a planned charter high school for the performing arts.Neighbors, meanwhile, said it wasn’t a pure business decision, wasn’t an easy deal to reach and will require additional funds because of the building’s condition.“I sweat bullets over that purchase,” said Neighbors, who is with Strategic & Operational Solutions in Meridian, Idaho.Neighbors would have declined paying a dollar more, he said, and believes the seller would have declined an offer of a dollar less.“That’s how tight and questionable it was,” he said.The seller was listed at the recorder’s office as Citibank, N.A.The asking price for the nearly 25,000-square-foot building and associated land, with parking, at one point was $1.5 million, and perhaps considerably more when it first was vacated.The bank building at 308 N. Curry St. is on the southwest corner of Telegraph Square.Property investors prefer faster-growing communities than Carson City, Neighbors said. That’s why the purchase wasn’t purely a business decision.But his objectives are different, he said, including the hope that “we can stabilize the market and bring value above and beyond what we can return to the pocket of the foundation.”Eugene Paslov, a longtime educator spearheading efforts to open a charter high school for the performing arts, has expressed interest in the space but says it wouldn’t be available when school starts in August.“We’re going to open this year, so we have to find some space,” he said. Earlier he characterized talks with the foundation about leasing the space, should it wind up being purchased, as “very iffy.”Paslov is chairman of the city’s Cultural Commission, and Abowd serves on it as the Board of Supervisors’ representative. Abowd views a performing arts school downtown as helpful in revitalizing that area. Tuesday, Paslov said he hasn’t talked with foundation representatives since his “very iffy” comment, so whether something could be worked out in later years remains iffy at best.Neighbors said he has had a couple of prospective tenants express interest, but what might come next awaits an architect’s study and subsequent decisions about what to do with the building.“We’ve been noncommittal until we see what we need to do,” he said. Bob Fredlund of Coldwell Banker Select and Bruce Robertson of Sperry Van Ness/Gold Dust Commercial were Neighbors’ real estate agents for the deal. Both praised him for helping Carson City.They say contrasting the price on a square-foot basis with all other recent commercial property sales here would be comparing apples to oranges because the 1960s structure was vacant for several years.