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New office owner eyes improvements

The new owner of 405 Capitol St. - the former Daniel Boone Hotel - is promising good things will happen there.

A lawsuit was filed against the 10-story office building's previous owners last year because the elevators were not working.

But Patrick Gates of Capitol Partners emailed the Daily Mail Thursday to say that because the company purchased the structure on Jan. 17, "the building has had continuous elevator service.

"Our intent is to make various capital improvements in the building," Gates wrote. "We are currently familiarizing ourselves with the building and tenants, and prioritizing things that need to be done.

"We'd like to make the building more amenable to existing tenants and perspective tenants," he wrote. "We feel it's a strong office building with a lot of history in a vibrant central business district."

Capitol Partners is headquartered in Milford, Ohio, according to West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's online business database. Milford is 16 miles northeast of Cincinnati.

Gates said Capitol Partners has hired Neyer Management to manage the building. Neyer is headquartered in Cincinnati. According to Neyer's website, most of the buildings it manages are in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

405 Capitol St. is on the National Register of Historic Places. Midtown Center Associates owned it until Capitol Partners bought it for $4.33 million.

Larry Swann, who was a tenant, filed a lawsuit against Midtown Center Associates last year in an effort to get the elevators fixed. Swann has mobility impairment and couldn't get to his fifth-floor office.

Jeffrey Wakefield, Swann's attorney, said last week that Swann was recently forced to relocate to Laidley Tower. "He was paying full rent but not getting full benefit from that rent," Wakefield said.

Wakefield did not immediately return a call Friday seeking comment.

State Del. Mark Hunt, a lawyer, also has an office in the building.

After the new owner's comments were read to him, Hunt said, "Of course the new owner is not responsible in any way for the misdeeds or sins of the previous owner.

"I think it's great they're going to make capital improvements," he said. "I have seen people measuring for new carpet in the hallways. The building has an interior fountain. I've noticed they're getting ready to clean up the fountain.

"But I will tell you this. In most leases in this building (there is a clause that says) if the owners do improvements, they can tariff the tenants.

"That's not in my lease because I'm a lawyer and I had that struck from my lease," Hunt said. "But I think it might be in some of the government agency leases.

"You want the improvements, the working elevators, but you also don't want a tariff," he said. "I don't know if this company plans on enforcing that tariff or just plans on fixing up the building. I just don't know."

Government agencies with offices in the building include the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., also has an office there.

Contact writer George Hohmann at business@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.


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