OAKLAND -- The iconic I. Magnin building in downtown Oakland has been bought by the same entrepreneur who bought the landmark Tribune Tower building nearby, in a deal that will bring hundreds of new jobs.

CallSocket Holding, a group led by Thomas Henderson, paid $9.8 million for the green-hued art deco building, which was built in 1930 and was a store for the retailer for decades at Broadway and 20th Street. The sale was completed a few weeks ago, Alameda County records show.

Henderson intends to operate a call center in the building, and already has leased space to two software companies -- Minted.com, a San Francisco-based firm that is expanding to Oakland, and Vigilent, which is shifting its headquarters from El Cerrito to downtown Oakland.

The historic I. Magnin building, owned by the same developers as the Tribune Tower, is photographed in downtown Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013.
The historic I. Magnin building, owned by the same developers as the Tribune Tower, is photographed in downtown Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group)

In December 2011, Henderson paid $8 million for the Tribune Tower, which served for decades as the headquarters of the Oakland Tribune.

"Oakland is a great city, in a great location, and there are a lot of opportunities here," Henderson said. "We want to bring a lot of new jobs to Oakland."

He said the two call centers that CallSocket will operate in the I. Magnin building and the Tribune Tower will create more than 500 jobs. The call center in the Tribune Tower already has begun operating and has 50 employees.

"This kind of investment and employment activity is going to be great for downtown Oakland, very positive," said John Dolby, a senior vice president with Cassidy Turley. "The I. Magnin building is unique; it is a great space."

Vigilent, which provides software so data centers can manage their energy use, and Minted.com, an e-commerce site, are each expected to create about 50 jobs at the I. Magnin building.

"Oakland is a vibrant, changing city," said Christopher Kryzan, a vice president with Vigilent. "Access to BART and other public transit is very important to us. We also wanted access to distribution centers in the East Bay and the Oakland airport."

In other deals in downtown Oakland, CallSocket last year bought the Roxie Theater, and the Community Bank building.

Henderson has teamed up with fellow entrepreneur Chris Pastena, to open a new restaurant in the Tribune building that's called Tribune Tavern. The two also have opened a restaurant in Jack London Square called Lungomare.

"People get it about Oakland, they have a passion about Oakland," Pastena said. "They see they can have a great lifestyle in Oakland. So people are taking a risk on that growth in the downtown and in Oakland because of that passion."

Contact George Avalos at 408-859-5167 or 408-373-3556. Follow him at Twitter.com/george_avalos