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Bill Binnie in deal for Manchester's iconic Citizens Bank building


New Hampshire Union Leader

July 10. 2015 10:14PM
The Citizens Bank building stands across from City Hall at the corner of Elm and Hanover streets in Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Television and radio station owner Bill Binnie was involved in snagging a prime piece of real estate on Elm Street that once stood as the state’s tallest building.

The iconic Citizens Bank building at 875 Elm St. sold for $8.175 million, according to real estate agent Dan Scanlon, who represented the seller.

The buyer is officially listed as 875 Elm Street LLC, which registered with the state Secretary of State’s Office on June 26.

Binnie, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2010, owns NH1 News and a collection of radio stations.

“I know he’s involved” in the purchase, said Lee Kinberg, executive vice president of NH1 News. “I don’t know how he actually set it up.”

Scanlon said he doesn’t know Binnie’s exact role.

“The document that I saw was signed by another Binnie and I’m sure there’s some reason from within, but Bill is definitely involved.”

Binnie couldn’t be reached for comment.

The buyer beat out “more than a handful” of other bidders, according to Scanlon, senior associate at Colliers International, who represented the seller, Inland American, a Chicago-based real estate trust.

Citizens Bank once owned and occupied the entire building, but moved most of its corporate offices across the street to 900 Elm St. last year.

The building sold for far less than the $15.53 million the city has it assessed at.

“I think the biggest thing is the price reflects the fact there was a tenant in only about 20,000 square feet of that building,” Scanlon said, an amount that represented about 1/7 of the available space.

“There was far less income than when Citizens occupied the entire building, and the more income the higher the price,” Scanlon said.

Built in 1913 as the headquarters for Amoskeag Bank, the 10-story neoclassical tower later housed First NH Bank and Citizens Bank.

It stood as the state’s tallest building for 50 years.

The deal was recorded Friday at the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds, according to Scanlon.

Inland American is “an institutional investor headquartered in Chicago and they made a business decision that it made more sense to sell the asset than continue to manage it from a long distance,” Scanlon said.

Citizens has a first-floor branch, a drive-through area as well as safe deposit boxes and a vault in the lower level, he said.

Citizens still has a few years left on its lease, he said.

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