UPDATED – Before the new owners of the Market Centre can convert the building to apartments, the current occupants of the space at First and Market all need to relocate.
One firm, Vincent Oil, now has a deal to move to the O.W. Garvey Building at the Garvey Center.
President Rick Hiebsch “really liked the idea of staying downtown,” says Vincent Oil vice president Andrew Clark.
“When we compared rent prices, it’s still really cheaper to be downtown,” Clark says. “That made it a lot easier decision.”
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He says that wasn’t the only reason, though.
“I guess there’s some amount of happy feeling to staying downtown,” Clark says.
He’s not sure if “civic duty” is the right way to put it, but Clark says, “It’s good for little companies like ours to stay downtown if we can.”
The company will move into 5,700 square feet early next year.
Larry Weber of the Garvey Center and Calvin Klaassen of Utter Commercial Real Estate handled the deal.
“The space they had is pretty much move-in ready,” Clark says.
He says the timing wasn’t especially good, though, since there are several employees of the oil exploration company who are nearing retirement.
“It’s unclear really how much office space we’ll need over the next three years,” Clark says.
In early August, Have You Heard? reported that KCHHLP, a Virginia limited partnership, purchased the Market Centre with plans to convert the building to 110 apartment units.
It was built as the Lassen Hotel in 1919 and in recent years has had only a 50 percent occupancy rate for offices.
Sam Kuns has Caesars Table at the mezzanine of the Market Centre and operates his Air Capital Catering from there. He’ll have to leave by late March as well.
“You know, we’ve got a nice little lunch crowd built up,” he says. “We’re talking about moving next door possibly.”
Kuns says a lot of his diners come from the 125 Market building and suggested management approach him about moving there.
“Yeah, there’s a nice bunch of people over there.”
Kuns says there’s no deal yet, but it sounds like management may create a new restaurant space for him on the first floor as an amenity for tenants. He thinks the space may work out better for the restaurant.
“This is kind of a hidden secret up here,” he says of the Market Centre mezzanine.
“We love it up here with the architecture and the history of the building, but businesswise, we think (125 Market) is going to be a better spot for us.”
Look for news of other Market Centre tenants moving as they make new deals.