URBANA — A University of Illinois Research Park building put up for auction two years ago has found a new owner.
Arvum Partners LLC is under contract to buy the State Farm building at 2001 S. First St., C, next month, and at Monday’s Research Park LLC board meeting, the board gave its consent to a transfer of the ground lease to the new owner.
“One of the entities involved with that LLC is Oxford Partners, and the others are individuals involved in a special purpose entity,” said Laura Frerichs, the UI Research Park’s director. “It is Midwest, but not local.”
She declined to share the sale price, as the deal has not yet closed.
Oxford Partners is a commercial real-estate firm based in Texas with offices in Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich., where Arvum Partners LLC lists an address.
In 2017, both the State Farm building and the Caterpillar building, 1901 S. First St., were put up for auction after their owner defaulted on a $16.4 million mortgage loan.
That owner — CRP Property LLC — had the properties since 2006, when it bought them from Fox/Atkins Development for almost $20.3 million.
Since the auction, “essentially the lender took possession of those buildings at that time,” Frerichs said.
Private property management company NAI Hiffman has leased and maintained the State Farm building for the last several years, Frerichs said.
For the many tenants there, not much should change with the new owners, and Frerichs said the new owners want to keep their tenants happy.
“The new owners, if they’re able to close on this, have made it clear that their intent is to keep the tenants happy, and that tenant-servicing is a priority for them, and that they want to see a well-maintained facility,” Frerichs said. “And that’s important to us as well.”
She said she couldn’t comment about what’s happening at the Caterpillar building.
“At this time, that is not something that’s been disclosed and it has not closed,” Frerichs said. “And this transaction would be separate.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, the board approved letting the chairman sign a ground lease for an expansion of the convention center at the I Hotel and Conference Center.
The roughly $13 million expansion will nearly double the size of the center, adding 32,500 square feet to the southeast of the existing 38,000-square-feet building.
The conference center cost the UI $11.6 million to build and opened in 2008 just south of the State Farm Center.
Construction on the expansion could begin next month, with an opening scheduled for the fall of 2020.