Connecticut man buys downtown building

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 19, 2002

One of the vacant buildings in downtown Albert Lea has been purchased by a Connecticut developer. The new owner said he would convert it to a modern office building for renting out.

The building at 300 S. Broadway Ave. has three floors, each of which has various sizes of rooms. The Connecticut company, J & P Buildings, will refurbish the first and second floor to create 15 quality office spaces.

&uot;I will provide something new and different to my tenants,&uot; company representative Ernesto Lopez said. &uot;I feel a lot of potential in Albert Lea. This is a very viable downtown.&uot;

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Lopez said his company will shift its operation from Connecticut to Albert Lea, and open an office in the building.

J & P has 12 years of experience in developing and rehabilitating both commercial and residential buildings, according to Lopez. The company also is capable of asbestos abatement and fireproof coating, and is planning to obtain a Minnesota license for both.

The company already purchased some properties for some employees who will start up the Albert Lea operation. The relocation from Connecticut will be complete in a few years, Lopez said.

Lopez said the $100,000 purchase price was paid in cash, and he is interested in buying more buildings in downtown.

&uot;Those buildings here are architecturally beautiful. I fell in love with this town,&uot; Lopez said.

J & P has grown through contracts with housing authorities, according to Lopez. The contract amount last year was over $2 million. Lopez expects the company can cooperate with the Housing Redevelopment Authorities of the city and county to initiate public housing projects.