A notice in a hard-copy edition of The Wall Street Journal led Chris Murray to an Internet auction and a move-in ready commercial property in Greater Des Moines.

 

Murray, president and CEO of Denny Elwell Co., said he found the Northshore Office Building at 4093 N.W. Urbandale Drive among the properties bundled in a commercial mortgage-backed security that was for sale at Auction.com.

 

"It was in our backyard, so we decided we were going to participate," he said. Elwell Co. was the winning bidder, although Murray would not disclose the purchase price, saying only "We paid fair market price."  The sale is set to close in October.

 

The property has an interesting history. It was developed by Greg Judas and later sold for $8 million in 2007 to North Shore Building LLC, an entity created by David Hill, president of Freedom Holdings Co., owner of Freedom Financial Bank in West Des Moines.

 

Hill obtained a non-recourse mortgage for $6.9 million from Merrill Lynch Mortgage Lending Inc. At the time, the 90,000-square-foot building was 100 percent occupied -- Dice.com was a tenant before moving to a different property. Non-recourse loans, in which the borrower has no collateral in the loan, were all the rage during the heady days of the real estate boom, a boom that would tank a few months after the loan was secured in June 2007.

 

In June 2012, the mortgage was assigned to U.S. Bank and serviced by C-III Asset Management LLC, one of the nation's largest servicers of distressed loans. U.S. Bank also foreclosed on the property. Earlier this year, it secured the deed at sheriff's sale for $5.5 million.

 

Murray described the property as a Class A office building that "is very much ready to move into," complete with internet capabilities and backup power. It is available to lease in portions ranging from 20,000 square feet to the entire building.