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 July 16, 1999

Real Estate: Score two for the home teams

­­­­­LOVELAND — Bank One had other plans for its Front Range real estate holdings, including buildings it owned in Loveland and Greeley. The multistate banking empire wanted a single buyer for all its property.

But the locals muscled in.

“They were looking for a major player,´ said Jack Trethewey, who brokered the $3.5 million sale of Bank One’s downtown Loveland building to a family partnership, all Loveland natives. “They were looking for Mr. New York, Mr. L.A., Mr. Japan.”

What they got were the Messrs. Ward — brothers Frank and Dick, the founders of Ward Construction Inc., a 37-year-old Loveland business.

A year of dogged determination by the Wards and Trethewey ended last month, when Ward West LLP, the company the family formed to compete with deeper pockets, closed the deal on the 77,000-square-foot, four-story building that dominates downtown Loveland.

In September, the scene will likely be replayed in Greeley, when a longtime Greeley family, the Notestines, closes a $4 million deal on Bank One’s downtown location.

The sale to the Wards may be the biggest real estate deal in downtown Loveland’s history — Trethewey said he hasn’t found a record of a larger one. But the impact goes beyond the sheer size of the sale tag. It’s a victory for local control and ownership in an era when so much of the northern Front Range commercial real estate landscape is falling into the hands of outsiders.

“We watched this building being built,” Frank Ward said. “We knew the people who built it. They were friends.”

During a good-natured interview on the north lawn of their new building, seven family members talked about what drew them into the transaction.

“It was greed,” one of them joked. “More like a total lack of common sense,´ said Frank Ward. “It was opportunity,´ said Diane Ward, who manages the office of Ward Construction.

Any outsider would see the investment as sound. The building is fully leased, with 20 tenants occupying the 66,000 square feet of rentable space. Bank One is the largest, and ended the sale by inking a 10-year lease and four five-year lease options. The other tenants — law firms, brokerages, software developers and other professional offices — have been long-term occupants.

Also included in the deal is 3.18 acres of downtown land, most of it occupied by three parking lots that flank the building on three sides at the intersection of Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue.

“We¹ve had it five weeks, and now we think it’s a bargain,” Dick Ward said.

Bank One is not the family’s first commercial acquisition since Frank and Dick formed Ward Construction in 1962, as Frank Ward said, “with a wheelbarrow, paid-for, and two pick-ups, also paid-for.”

The Wards also hold 200,000 square feet of warehouse space, most of that leased, as well.

The Notestine family views its purchase of the Bank One building on Ninth Avenue as another local victory.

“That’s how we see it, anyway,´ said Ty Notestine. “All of us are Colorado natives, and we lived in Greeley during the ’60s.”

Mark Notestine, Ty’s father, now lives in Greeley with his wife and is steeped in the affairs of the Greeley Downtown Development Authority. The family also owns the Greeley Building, known to most Greeley residents as the Old High School, and the Home Light & Power Building on the Ninth Street Plaza.

Tenants in Greeley’s Bank One building are anchored by Bank One, which will execute a new five-year lease when the sale closes, and ConAgra, whose lease is up in the fall.

Ty Notestine said his family’s deal with Bank One is progressing smoothly, and projects “an earlier, rather than later, closing.”

Listing agents for the sales were Leslee Superchi and John Miller of Trammel Crow Inc.

Sales and leases

Humankind Resources LLC, a startup business specializing in herbal supplements and homeopathic products, has leased 7,227 square feet at 1716 Heath Parkway in Fort Collins. Property owner is KMR Investments Inc. Dan Eckles and Tricia Diehl of Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services Inc.were listing brokers.

Tom Hacker can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683, (800) 440-3506 or via e-mail at thacker@ncbr.com. His fax number is (970) 221-5432.

­­­­­LOVELAND — Bank One had other plans for its Front Range real estate holdings, including buildings it owned in Loveland and Greeley. The multistate banking empire wanted a single buyer for all its property.

But the locals muscled in.

“They were looking for a major player,´ said Jack Trethewey, who brokered the $3.5 million sale of Bank One’s downtown Loveland building to a family partnership, all Loveland natives. “They were looking for Mr. New York, Mr. L.A., Mr. Japan.”

What they got were the Messrs. Ward — brothers Frank and Dick, the founders of Ward Construction Inc., a 37-year-old Loveland business.

A year of…

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