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Downtown high-rise bought by investor group

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A local real estate developer and his California partners intend to renovate the Sunwest Centre Office Complex at 500 N. Main. They recently purchased the downtown “landmark” building from an Ohio partnership. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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One of Roswell’s most recognizable downtown buildings has been purchased by a partnership that includes local and California real estate investors.

The Sunwest Centre Office Complex at 500 N. Main St. was bought about three weeks ago by B & J Sun West Centre LLC, which consists of local investor Ram Kunwar and his partners from California.

Kunwar said that they intend to renovate the 10-story high-rise to create a modern, energy-efficient building suitable for a city that attracts visitors from many other states and countries.

“Roswell is an international city, and you have people coming from all over the world,” Kunwar said. “I want it to be a nice place.”

Kunwar has been involved in a couple of other real estate transactions and projects in recent years, including most recently purchasing a former senior living community at 2801 N. Kentucky Ave. He and his California partners are working to create hotel rooms and apartments at that property.

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The Sunwest Centre complex occupies the entire Fifth Street block of North Main Street with three connected buildings of about 120,000 square feet and includes an open-air interior courtyard, as well as several parking areas. The property also has two additional parking areas across Sixth Street that are behind other businesses and front North Richardson Avenue. Those lots provide another 104 parking spots, said Ed McClelland, who has been the property manager for the building for 22 years. He and the long-time building engineer will remain in their roles, McClelland said.

Kunwar chose not to discuss the purchase price. County property records indicate that, for tax purposes, the Fifth Street block property alone was given a 2021 valuation of $2.07 million.

The building is about 85% occupied, McClelland said, with about 60 tenants that include Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Peppers Grill & Bar and the state Law Offices of the Public Defender.

Kunwar said that the building is a highly visible one that helps define Roswell, as it is seen not only by visitors to the downtown area but also by people traveling through Main Street, which is also U.S. Highway 285, on their way to other cities and states.

He said that he and his wife looked at the building and decided to make an offer, which he said the former owner representative decided to accept in about five minutes after coming to Roswell to meet with Kunwar. The office complex had been owned by Roswell Properties LLC Ltd., a partnership based in Ohio, for about 25 years, McClelland said.

“They did a good job of owning it and maintaining it,” said McClelland. “It is a landmark building.”

He said construction on the building began in about 1959 and it opened in 1962. For many years, it was known for having various banks as a ground-floor anchor tenant, with the most recent being Washington Federal, which moved in 2014. That space has been vacant for about seven years, with renovations intended to make that space more suitable to other tenants.

Kunwar said that it will take more than a year for renovations to occur, and he is now considering the architects that would develop the redesign.

He said that he does not anticipate that tenants will have to leave the building during the renovations because the work will be done in phases that will allow tenants to relocate temporarily to other offices if needed.

Kunwar said he thinks it is important to invest in Roswell and to help it improve.

“I like this building to become a 2022 model,” he said. “I will make a totally different building. It will look like a new building.”

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.