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One of Salt Lake City's newest downtown office towers has changed hands — at a skyscraping price.

In a deal that closed last week week, the slender, high-end, 22-story tower known as 222 Main was bought byKBS Real Estate Investment Trust III, a privately held investment fund based in California.

Officials with KBS revealed the price Monday at $170.5 million plus closing costs, making it a record-setting deal for commercial real estate in Utah's capital city, on a cost per-square footage basis.

KBS credited the building's first-class finishes, its views of the Wasatch Mountains, key location in Salt Lake's central business district, parking facilities and its proximity to TRAX and City Creek shopping mall.

KBS Capital senior vice president Tim Hegelson called the site on the southwest intersection of South Main Street and 200 South "a premier office property.'' Added KBS Capital Advisors western region president Rodney Richerson: "We are very excited to expand our portfolio in Salt Lake City."

With its status as one of Salt Lake's tallest buildings, a notably glass-dominated exterior and angular architectural features, many viewed the tower's presence along Main Street as part of a broader upswing in downtown development referred to as Downtown Rising.

The sale drew national interest and multiple bids from local and out-of-state investors, according to one of a team of real estate brokers at Cushman & Wakefield | Commerce offices in Salt Lake, Denver and Los Angeles who were involved in the sale.

"We had huge traffic on this," said Kip Paul, the firm's director of investment sales in Salt Lake. "I can't tell you how many people flew in to see this."

The 426,657 square foot, energy-conserving building was completed in December 2009, by Chicago-based Hamilton Partners, at a reported cost of $125 million. It was designed by the international architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

One of the project's primary financial backers was a pension fund managed on behalf of employees and retirees of Honeywell, the Fortune 100 technology company.

Occupancy ran below expectations after 222 Main opened, until managers landed financial giant Goldman Sachs as a key tenant. The building is also an office location for the national law firm Holland & Hart.

Headquartered in Newport Beach, KBS holds a portfolio of more than 1,500 office, industrial, retail, hotel and multi-family residential properties across the U.S., with target markets in metropolitan areas.

In Utah, KBS also owns Parkside Tower, a 13-story office building at 215 S. State Street in Salt Lake, and Gateway Tech Center, formerly known as Salt Lake Hardware Building, a landmark manufacturing site retrofitted for offices at 155 N. 400 West.

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