Canadian investors who have spread their wealth from Winnipeg to problematic buildings in downtown Des Moines have bought the Financial Center at Seventh and Walnut streets.


John Coyne and Mark Buleziuk, part of the investment group, said they will be eager participants in the rejuvenation that is occurring along Walnut Street with the renovation of the Younkers Building and EMC Insurance Co.'s work at the Kaleidoscope at the Hub and the Hub Tower. The investment group closed on the 41-year-old building, which at 25 stories, was once the tallest in the state.


"All of those things exude great confidence in the downtown market," Coyne said.


Coyne and Buleziuk are not strangers to downtown. Their group also bought The Partnership Building at 700 Locust St. and converted part of that structure into leased office spaces, called Space2work, and the former Keck City Center at 500 Grand Ave. Both buildings feature large parking garages and both had gone into foreclosure during the recession.


The fact that the buildings feature large parking garages was their main attraction, said Mark Buleziuk, another partner in the investment group. By the way, Buleziuk and Coyne are rebranding Keck as simply 500 Grand.


The purchase price for the Financial Center is said to be in the $9 million range. Public documents regarding the sale had not been filed early this afternoon, and the partners were not prepared to disclose the price.


The assessed value is about $13.2 million, according to the Polk County assessor's website. The previous owner, New Mexico-based Tomorrow 30 Des Moines L.P., carried a $19 million mortgage that was modified in 2009. The group bought the building for $24.75 million in 2001.


Buleziuk said the building has some deferred maintenance issues. However, he believes it is a premier property.


One issue is filling vacant office space. According to a report on occupancy levels of Greater Des Moines commercial properties at the end of the third quarter of 2013, the Financial Center was about 67 percent occupied.


Buleziuk pointed out that his investment partners are not timid about spending money to update older buildings. Both the Partnership Building and 500 Grand have undergone dramatic improvements.


"We're excited about the Financial Center," he said. "It's a prominent asset in Des Moines. Hopefully we can bring it back to its old glory."

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