Downtown high-rise up for auction again
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Aug 29, 2013 | 3292 views |  0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anniston's Commerce Tower. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
Anniston's Commerce Tower. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
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One of Anniston's tallest buildings, Commerce Towers, is scheduled for auction in September.

For the sixth time.

The 11-story building is scheduled for auction Sept. 11 in front of the Calhoun County Courthouse after previously being set for sale five times during 2013. The building is up for auction because the owner, Commerce Towers LLC, defaulted on a loan from Regions Bank.

Frank Tomlinson, the Birmingham attorney handling the auction, said he thought the sale of the building would be held in September as scheduled.

"We certainly hope so," Tomlinson said.

According to tax records from the Calhoun County Revenue Commission, Commerce Towers has an appraised value of about $4 million.

Tomlinson would not go into specifics as to the reason for the auction postponements other than say they were due to different legal matters.

"Those legal matters are behind us now so I'm pretty sure it is going to auction," Tomlinson said.

Commerce Towers is one of several properties owned by real estate company Noble Street LLC and managed by James Lloyd. Other properties include the historic Watermark Tower in Anniston, which houses the Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board.

Lloyd said Commerce Towers is up for auction due to the difficulty he has had finding tenants for it. The building houses about four or five tenants, including BBVA Compass Bank. Lloyd said when the county office for the state Department of Human Resources vacated the building more than a year ago, it left empty eight floors.

"That was a big hole to fill," Lloyd said.

Lloyd added that selling office space in other Anniston downtown buildings has been difficult, including at Watermark Tower.

"It's been about the same, slow for both of them," Lloyd said of Watermark and Commerce Towers. "We're still waiting for tenants to commit."

Lloyd noted that Commerce Towers has plenty of potential for the right developer.

"It's good for office space for pretty much anybody or it could be converted into condos," he said.

Julia Segars, chairwoman of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, said developing Anniston's more prominent buildings, such as Watermark and Commerce Towers, would be good for economic development.

"When you've got a building like that you revitalize and maintain ... having a business hub there, restaurants and other things will follow that business," Segars said. "It's an investment in the future health of our city in bringing people and families to the area."

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.
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