Investors Foaming at the Mouth to Buy State Buildings; Arizona Capitol on the Block

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The state's having a bit of a yard sale right now, and what's on the lawn? How about a hospital, a state park, and, oh yeah, the state capitol.

We reported on this a few weeks ago, and believe us, we can't believe this is actually happening either.

In the last few weeks, about two dozen real estate investors have contacted state officials about the Legislatures proposal to sell 32 state owned facilities, including the state capitol.

"There is a lot of interest. I've received a lot of phone calls. I'm just compiling a list of interested investors," Alan Ecker, legislative liaison for the Department of Administration officials tells the Arizona Guardian. "As things move along, we'll be contacting all of those parties."

The proposal hopes to bring in about $730 million to help bridge the state's current $3.5 billion budget gap.

Once the buildings are sold, the plan calls for the state to lease the properties back from the new owner, pay rent for a few years, and hopefully buy the buildings back when it's out of the red.

Just think of it as a big pawn shop.

What's the going rate for state assets you ask? Here's a breakdown.

-- The Senate and House buildings, $18.2 million apiece.
-- The Executive Tower, $39.5 million.
-- The Department of Public Safety building in Phoenix, $50.5 million.
-- The DPS building in Tucson, $7.3 million.
-- The Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix, $176.1 million.
-- The Coliseum and Exposition Center, $84.4 million.
-- Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson, $10.6 million.

So, if you have $20 million kickin' around, and you want to be the state's landlord, you're in luck. Keep in mind, however, your tenants will be the same people who mismanaged themselves into a $3.5 billion budget disaster.

As a whole, these people probably wouldn't qualify for a car loan, let alone a lease on a $20 million building.

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