A California-based real estate investment trust has signed a purchase agreement to acquire the former Empire Ford auto dealership property in downtown Spokane, says Nate Greene, who along with his wife, Roberta, owns the property through The Greene Co. LLC.
With the deal not completed yet, Greene declines to say more about the prospective buyer, other than that it's a different one than earlier had been reported to have agreed to buy the property, at 423 W. Third. He also says, though, that a trustee's sale at which the property was scheduled to be sold at auction at the Spokane County Courthouse has been postponed from Dec. 11 to Feb. 5. The sale of the property would halt that foreclosure action.
A listing agent for the property, Christopher Bell, of NAI Black, had said in late September that an undisclosed party had agreed to buy the property and that the transaction could be completed within 60 to 90 days, barring any obstacles that might come up. He said two weeks ago, though, that the prospective buyer had decided not to go through with the acquisition.
A recently published legal notice said the property was scheduled to be auctioned off at a trustee's sale Dec. 11 to satisfy a nearly $2.5 million financial obligation owed to Ford Motor Credit Co. on a 2001 deed of trust. The notice said The Greene Co. has defaulted on loan payments and fees totaling about $568,000 through early September.
The Seattle law firm of Bishop, White & Marshall PS, which is acting as successor trustee and debt collector in the matter, is overseeing the foreclosure proceeding. An attorney with that firm who is familiar with the matter couldn't be reached immediately for comment.
The former Empire Ford property includes three buildings, a multistory parking structure, and about an acre and a half of land on both sides of Third Avenue. The main building formerly housed the auto dealership's showroom, part of the service area, a parts area, and supporting offices. An adjacent building housed most of the service department, plus service offices and a customer-waiting area. The small third building, located just across Third from the main dealership, served as a used-car sales office.
The total rentable building area is just over 49,500 square feet, not including the 85,200-square-foot parking structure or an 8,300-square-foot basement, marketing materials say. The main building was constructed in 1941, and the other structures were added in 1978, but the main complex was remodeled extensively.
The entire property had been found in April 2007 to have an "as-is" market value of $5.3 million. Nate and Roberta Greene shuttered the auto dealership there in December 2007.
Bell had said the most recent prospective buyer was a different party than one NAI Black had been negotiating with after the property was put up for sale in July, along with nine other properties here, in an eBay-style online timed auction.
Bell said before that auction that bidders were looking at the property for possible hospitality and medical building use. Marketing materials for the auction mentioned potential retail and office uses.
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