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Federal Trust Building

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134 South 13th Street

When fifth-generation Nebraska native Gerard Keating in 2000 bought one of Lincoln’s most prominent structures, the 12-story Federal Trust Building, he got it for $10, he said, because it was largely vacant and facing demolition.

Keating sold the renovated office building to two California brothers for nearly $5.8 million. At a cost of $95 a square foot, Keating and his real estate agent believe that could be a record in recent times for downtown Lincoln office buildings.

Today the 1926 Gothic Revival-style building –– which underwent a multimillion-dollar restoration, including gutting the interior, exposing marble floors and installing new elevators –– is on the National Register of Historic Places and enjoys a 93 percent occupancy rate.

Keating credited much of the success to anchor tenant First National Bank locating its Lincoln headquarters in the building. The bank recreated original teller booths, complete with wrought iron. A dozen other firms also call the 77,000-square-foot building at 13th and N Streets home.

Buyers Eric and Scott Haskin of California see the building as a real estate investment in a stable market, said their representative, who said proximity to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the State Capitol were influential factors. The Federal Trust building is expected to continue as office space.

Keating and agent Mark Seger of CB Richard Ellis Mega of Omaha said the sale price beat the $48 per square foot paid for the Tier One Bank Tower in downtown Lincoln last month, the $42 per square foot paid for the Cornhusker Plaza Tower in 2004 and the $36 per square foot paid for the Wells Fargo Tower in 2003.

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