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Sacramento’s Senator Hotel sells in online auction

The historic Senator Hotel at 1121 L St, across from State Capitol was sold in an online auction.
The historic Senator Hotel at 1121 L St, across from State Capitol was sold in an online auction. lsterling@sacbee.com

Sacramento’s historic Senator Hotel office building has been sold in an unusual online auction, a broker said Thursday.

The building, located across from the Capitol on L Street, went for nearly $31.8 million in a sale conducted by Auction.com. The price includes 5 percent in sale-related fees.

The Senator was put up for sale by LNR Property of Miami, which took over the 160,000-square-foot building in 2011. LNR put the building up for sale briefly two years ago but changed its mind after receiving offers of about $27 million, according to industry sources.

The buyer hasn’t been disclosed as the sale has not been finalized.

Rob Cole, a senior vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle, a commercial real estate firm marketing the building for LNR, said the sellers are generally pleased with the outcome of the auction.

LNR had placed a $29.25 million minimum price on the building, and “we wouldn’t be selling if we didn’t pass the reserve,” Cole said.

The 10-story building occupies a major place in Sacramento history. Opened in 1924, it was a popular hangout for legendary Sacramento lobbyist Artie Samish during the 1930s and 1940s. Then-President Gerald Ford had just emerged from a meeting at the Senator when Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme aimed a gun at him as he approached the Capitol in 1975. The gun didn’t fire.

The Senator was converted to office use in 1982 but fell into financial trouble after a state housing agency exited the building, leaving it half-empty. Its former owner ceded the Senator to LNR to avoid foreclosure proceedings. Occupancy has since risen to about 72 percent.

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