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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New Owner For 20 Grand and 1136 S. Fort Thomas

Dan Gorman is the new owner of the properties at 20 Grand.

We recently shared the story of Fort Thomas resident Dan Gorman, and his work in creating affordable housing in Africa. Already the owner of several Fort Thomas properties, including the Hiland Building, Gorman has big plans for our city as well.

Investing in real estate requires vision as well as adaptability. Gorman says in many ways it’s like playing a game of chess. Each move is dependent on the moves that happened before with several possibilities in mind of what’s going to happen next. Enter 20 Grand, one of Gorman’s more recent purchases.

“20 Grand is one of those properties that I think is an iconic property in Fort Thomas,” he says. “You drive by it all the time and it’s a very prominent property. Being a real estate investor, I thought it would be really interesting to own that someday if it was ever available.”

Barre3 Ft. Thomas. Located at Fort Thomas Plaza. 
Gorman reached out to Ed Jacobs, whose family developed the 20 Grand properties – a series of business condos along with a three-story building – in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Jacobs also owned 1136 S. Fort Thomas Ave., home to several businesses including Jami Anna Insurance Services and Brothers Electric Co., across the street from Southside Deli. And this property was for sale.

Gorman thought he had a tenant for 1136 S. Fort Thomas Ave., but that fell through. “And so when that didn’t work out I said, you know? I might consider buying 1136 if you would be interested in selling 20 Grand with it because I would love 20 Grand, Gorman said. I like 1136 but I love 20 Grand.”

The timing was right. The Jacobs family was interested in selling in order to pursue travel and other activities. The deal was made.

At least 50 percent of 20 Grand is currently vacant.

Gorman says 20 Grand, which offers 17,000 square feet of business space, is at least 50 percent vacant. The three-story property at 20 Grand currently has its entire second floor open, with more than 4,000 square feet for offices, and part of the first floor is open, which has space for a large board room. The property also offers ample parking, which is at a premium, especially at offices with a lot of employees.

Gorman’s dream? To shift around the businesses in the central business district, bringing at least one to 20 Grand, which would then up more opportunities in the central business district for growth.

And if folks in the central business district don’t want to move? Like any good chess player, Gorman has a Plan B.

“I’ve always wanted to have an entrepreneurial co-working space,” he says. And 20 Grand would give him a large chunk of space to do just that. “What was popular for a while was just to have a big, open space and everybody would just walk around and share everyone’s tables and stuff like that,” he says. “What I think everyone is really settling down to is people want to have little offices around the edge, maybe like a 10 x 10, enough to have privacy for your conversations and a computer, and then a bunch of stuff in the middle that’s shared, like a conference room, couches, a coffee bar and things like that.”

Much of Gorman’s vision comes from experience and really wanting to see Fort Thomas succeed. In addition to his dreams for 20 Grand, he has many ideas for the future of Fort Thomas, which we'll detail more next week. 

Gorman and his family moved to Fort Thomas about 20 years ago. He grew up in the Air Force, and moved a lot. Eventually his family settled in Madeira, Ohio. “The longest I’ve ever lived before I moved to Madeira was a year and a half,” he says. And now, Fort Thomas has long been home. “I love being in one place, planting roots and getting invested in this community. I like being involved with the schools and I’m on the Planning Commission and things like that so it’s nice to have some type of effect on things that are happening.”

And while many might find the game of real estate investing too stressful, Gorman loves it.

“I think it’s just exciting,” he says. “I enjoy figuring out all the pieces of a complicated deal. Something that most people would think would be very difficult or challenging to get done, I really like the challenge. And I also like the challenge of repositioning something that needs some help.”

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