I'm the office manager for a commercial real estate company in Columbus, OH. A few months back, I was going the path of being a "real" real estate agent, and then the economy borked, and foreclosures soared, and Ohio is in the tank, so I kept at my clerical path until things get better.
But still, my every day revolves around real estate. Thankfully, technology - like the use of this website, makes my job easier. I just plug in a name, or a street address, or a parcel number, and I can pull all the information I may need - be it the owners, the company that holds their mortgage, the amount they purchased it for, all property transfers, how much their taxes are (or how far behind they are in paying their taxes), any liens held against it, and even a photo and sketch of the property. Sweeeet.
And so, today, my job has me trying to find a property on Dublin Rd in Columbus, OH. Granted, not knowing the street number is killing me - Dublin Rd is a main thoroughfare, and there are a ton of properties, both commercial and residential. So I start plugging through the pages, clicking anything that might be familiar.
I notice a weird trend as I chug along - a lot of these properties are owned by companies that are named after the property - holding companies, perhaps, but still weird. 1013 Dublin Rd is owned by "1013 Investments, LTD". 1014 Dublin Rd is owned by "1014 Company LLC". 1017 is owned by "Ten Seventeen LTD". There are at least a dozen properties like this scattered throughout my search. But, I come across a lot of weird things in real estate, and I have a job to get done, so I keep on moving.
But then, at number 1266 Dublin Rd, something really catches my curiosity. Owners name: Church of Scientology. Heh, really? Because I know the Church is here in Columbus, but it's location sure as hell isn't on Dublin Rd. And, interestingly enough, the sale occurred just two weeks ago, on April 4th, 2008. So, job to do or not, I click on it.
Right away, I can see they got the property for a hellaciously good price. The property is valued by the auditors at over 3.7 million dollars (and auditors usually value properties lower than the "real" selling price), and the CoS bought it for 2.8 million.
Also interesting, is that they did not appear to purchase this as a non-tax building, as most churches would, thanks to their tax-exempt status. The Church has a small discount in taxes (which most commercial properties get around here anyhow), but it is still liable for the nearly 90,000 dollars in taxes that will accrue during 2008.
I click on the photo. And am slightly dumbfounded. The building is a Time Warner (you know, the cable/internet giants?) building.
I quickly look up the number for the building and find it here. I speak with a very pleasant salesmen named John, who confirms he is in the Dublin Rd building (I'm pretty sure he thought I either wanted to date him, bomb the building, or possibly both), and that he works for Time Warner, and that no, he didn't know his building sold two weeks ago, and he sure didn't know his was now walking on a property owned by the "religious quacks".
One quick glance at the transfer history tells me this also: the company that owned the building before? One of those companies mentioned above, named after the location: 1266 Dublin LP.
I don't know what to make of any of this - or if there even is anything to make of it. But I'm quite satisfied to have had my "whaaat the fuuuck?" for the day by 9 am.