Wall Street Journal

Plots and Ploys
February 21, 2001

Second Chance
A new chapter is about to be written in the tale of two Raleigh office buildings developed by Karsten von Wersebe, the Canada-based businessman whose global multi-billion dollar empire collapsed in the early 1990s.
        Late last year, One Hannover Square was sold to Lennar Partners by a group of Mr. Von Wersebe's partners that wound up in control of the 17-story building.  Now its sister project, the 29-story Two Hannover Square, is being put on the block by the group of German and Californian investors that purchased it in a 1993 bankruptcy auction.  That group, which is led by California-based real estate investors Sam and Tim Sotoodeh, includes many of the same German investors who were Mr. Von Wersebe's partners in One Hannover Square.
        For the partners who invest in both buildings, the Two Hannover clearly is the better deal.  They barely made their money back from the $45 million that Lennar paid for One Hannover, according to one person involved in the deal.  But they paid only $18.5 million for Two Hannover when it was virtually an empty shell.  The current price tag: $57 million.
        The building's value has soared thanks to the turnaround of the downtown Raleigh market.  "It's become more of a hip place," says Mark Deriemer, of Jones Lang LaSalle, who's brokering the Two Hannover sale.     

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