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L.A. investors have eye on Union Trust building

by Ben Semmes
Pittsburgh Business Times
Friday, November 2, 2007

A group of Los Angeles-based investors expect to close on the Union Trust Building by year end.

“We have an instinctive feeling that the property is a very good property,” said Rick Barreca, CEO of Mika Realty Group, of the nearly 600,000-square-foot, 11-story Downtown building.

Barreca said that Mika Realty’s founder Michael Kamen is leading the acquisition, along with his business associate Gershon Fox.

Barreca declined to reveal the price but said the group will maintain the property as an office building.

The recent turmoil in the credit markets, which already scared off at least one potential buyer in the New York-based partnership of Houlihan-Parnes and J.J. Operating Corp., should not be an issue, Barreca said.

“We tend to stay out of the capital markets and work with commercial banks that have very good real estate departments and are able to lend on their own books,” he said.

The company’s first acquisition in Pennsylvania, the Union Trust Building has been virtually vacant since Mellon Financial Corp. moved out of the building last year.

CB Richard Ellis/Pittsburgh had been marketing the building on behalf of owner Teal Rock 501 Grant Street LP, an entity controlled by Philadelphia-based Cigna Corp., since the end of last year. | (412) 208-3829

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