A Dubuque area real estate developer will be the new owner of the former Peregrine Financial Group headquarters near Cedar Falls. A.J. Spiegel, the owner of Peosta’s Mi-T-M Manufacturing, beat out one other company for the right to buy the property.

The building was constructed in 2008 at a cost of nearly $20 million, but Spiegel will acquire it and the surrounding 20 acres of woods for just $3.26 million. Spiegel says the building first caught his attention during the Peregrine Financial Group property sale back in December.

“I saw some very interesting things and I thought it was a great piece of property for future growth in a company, if that was even going to be possible for me and I didn’t know we’d be winning the bid for it,” Spiegel said. “I’m pretty pleased with how that all came out.”

While Spiegel isn’t sure if he’ll lease the property to just one tenant or several businesses, he believes there is a lot of potential to turn the headquarters into a positive for the community. “It could be several businesses,” Spiegel said. “It could be a doctor’s office. It could an insurance company. It could be about any professional type of organization that might be in the community.”

The building was designed and funded by Peregrine Financial Group founder Russell Wassendorf, Senior, who was arrested last July on charges of making false statements to a federal financial oversight commission. Investigators found that Wassendorf had stolen nearly $220 million from customers over a 20 year period.

Spiegel expects to close on the PFG property later this month. Any money generated by the sale of the property will be used to help pay the more than 200 million dollars in restitution that Wassendorf was ordered to pay after he pleaded guilty last September. Wassendorf was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Spiegel says while it may take some time, he’s confident the Peregrine property will eventually be looked at as a positive in the Cedar Valley.

By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls