Friday, August 29, 2014

FBI-investigated BlueStar Technologies was evicted from the Commercial Building

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 11:24 AM

BlueStar Technologies, Erick Hansen’s Blu-ray company dogged by accusations of fraud and poor management, has been evicted from Spokane’s Commercial Building. According to one former BlueStar employee, the business is no more.

click to enlarge The NAI Black real estate listing for 1111 West 1st Avenue, formerly the site of BlueStar Digital Technologies
The NAI Black real estate listing for 1111 West 1st Avenue, formerly the site of BlueStar Digital Technologies

When we published “Wizard of Spokane”  in February, one of the most surprising things was that BlueStar Digital Technologies was still running in Spokane, despite an FBI investigation, multiple lawsuits and massive amounts of debt.

In fact, in an email responding to the story at the end of February, BlueStar engineer Allen Pabst expressed enthusiasm for the company’s prospects: “By the way, I have received now several orders and we are running well now. The new sales team is great! I am even using local suppliers to supply many of our production material needs and this is working great. I would love to show you again but the attorney said no for the time being.”

But as with nearly everything that ever that happened to BlueStar, the reality didn’t live up to the hype.

“BlueStar closed in March and no longer exists,” Pabst wrote in an email yesterday. The Nevada Secretary of State, however, still lists the company as officially “active,” showing Hansen filed his  annual list of officers on July 15, using incorporation service InCorp as his address.

Dan Olson, owner of the Commercial Building where BlueStar resided, says the company was evicted from his building in April. Olson, reached on the phone yesterday, did not elaborate on why.

Olson is similarly terse when asked for a general comment on BlueStar itself. “I have lots of thoughts on that and lots of comments, but I don’t have any to share,” he says.

Chris Bell, the NAI Black real estate agent who’s listed the Commercial Building property for $2.29 million, says Olson has “been in the process of clearing out the furniture fixtures and equipment and auctioning that off — the specialized Blu-ray equipment.”

“Basically, they defaulted on their lease, and [Olson] terminated their lease and removed them,” Bell says about BlueStar.

He says there’s been considerable interest in the property. But the challenge is the West First neighborhood, where nearby buildings like the Otis hotel remain boarded up and vacant.

“The problem I have is that this is the nicest building on the block,” Bell says. 

He says he's had preliminary discussions with Dave Steele, part of the city’s Asset Management Group, about the City of Spokane’s real estate needs. Bell's talked with developers, investors and, he says, at least one nonprofit involved in community services, transitional housing and job training.

“It’s a perfect building for a nonprofit to acquire, occupy the office space on the first floor, then run a commercial kitchen or restaurant,” Bell says. 

The upstairs, Bell says, could become a nonprofit-driven low-income housing, just like it was before the tenants were evicted for Hansen’s company back in 2007. Low-income tenants could stay in the apartments upstairs, and then work at the commercial kitchen downstairs.

“It’s amazing how everything comes around full circle,” Bell says.

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, Daniel Walters is the Inlander's senior investigative reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...