Commercial Realtors celebrate top transactions of 2012


The Greater New Haven Board of Realtors’ Commercial Investment Division (CID) convened December 13 at Racebrook Country Club in Orange for its annual awards for superlative real estate transactions by member commercial Realtors in 2012.


Along with sharing holiday cheer members discussed with a reporter their view that 2012 remained a challenging year for business, especially regarding bank financing. Most in the group said it was a third year of progress and anticipated that 2013 would see an improving commercial real estate climate in the region.


The awards:


Top honors for Business Sale were garnered by John Bergin of Pearce/George J. Smith, for Milford retail business Wines and More. The sale included the business, inventory and a 7,000-square-foot retail store with a 4,000-square-foot warehouse. Sale terms were confidential. Bergin represented both the buyer and seller, perhaps the reason the deal was made in two days.



Rich Lee of OR&L Commercial had the largest Office Lease of 2012: 20,000 square feet for 25 years at the Crossroads Medical Center on Devine Street in North Haven, valued at $15 million. Lee was sole broker and New Haven Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine, which expects to open its new facility this coming October, is the lessor. The hospital currently is housed at 843 State Street in New Haven. The new facility will double the facility’s size.



The largest Office Sale was consummated by the OR&L team of Frank Hird and Toby Brimberg. The $3 million transaction was for 23,000 square feet on 5.13 acres at 97 Barnes Road in Wallingford to Edible Arrangements, the national franchisor of locations that sell and deliver fruit baskets and related items. Hird represented the seller, SKF 97 Barnes, LLC, while Brimberg represented buyer 97 Barnes Road, LLC. The building was built in 1983 and renovated in 2008. Currently 6,800 square feet remain vacant.



The CID annual award for Investment Sale went to Carl Russell of Pearce/George J. Smith for sale of a 40,600-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility at 235 Edison Road in Orange, the former headquarters and manufacturing base of Wallach Surgical Products. Numet Machining Technologies penned a ten-year lease for $3.4 million plus an agreement to perform substantial improvements to the property, valued at $600,000.


The seller insisted that there would be no transaction without a sale and an investor, TMC Orange, was located to purchase the property for $3.4 million. TMC Orange is a subsidiary of TMC Properties, LLC, which owns and manages industrial and office real estate on the east and west coast.


Numet is a contract manufacturer of precision-machined components requiring complex geometrics and exotic alloys. It is a self-release provider of flight critical parts to GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and the U.S. Department of Defense. Numet will be consolidating operations from three different locations into the Orange location.



A 25-year ground lease at 365 Queen Street in Southington valued at $3.8 million was the largest Land Lease, brokered by Frank Hird, Phil Marshall and Toby Brimberg, all of OR&L Commercial. The lease was signed by Webster Bank, which has been at the location for 40 years. Galaxy, the owner, will further develop the site to expand the bank’s drive-through and add additional parking, landscaping, and improved access to Loper and Queen streets.



Mike Richetelli of Colonial Properties, and Robert Cole of Arnold Peck’s Commercial World, shared honors for the largest Retail Sale. The site at 855 Boston Post Road in West Haven included three buildings totaling 72,000 square feet of retail space on 11 acres. The Route 1 property was formerly used by Grossman’s and most recently by Dadd’s Extreme Sports. The building features 60,000 square feet in the main building, with two “pad” buildings totaling 11,000 square feet. The property was sold to BART Realty, LLC  (Universal Hotel Liquidators) for $2.4 million. Universal is one of the largest hotel liquidators in the country and had formerly been in leased space on lower State Street in New Haven. Richetelli will help lease the currently used portion of the site. Cole represented the seller, Hide Realty, LLC.



Press Cuozzo’s Joel Nesson was cited for the largest Industrial Sale. The October deal was for a five-building, 104,000-square-foot complex on 14 acres. The sale of Phoenix Research Park at 408-410 Sackett Point Road in North Haven sold for $3.8 million. The seller was Lake A, LLC, and the buyer was SK PT, LLC, a tenant in the complex. SK PT services the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. 



Fred A. Messore of Colonial Properties, who was selected in September as a 2012 Business New Haven Rising Star for his success at Colonial and his role in economic development in the towns of Seymour and West Haven, earned the award for the Most Transactions — 35 — in 2012, with an aggregate value of  $10.7 million.


The transactions included the sale of a 13,600-square-foot building on 0.97 acres at 449 Boston Post Road in Orange to Chef's Equipment Emporium for $1.4 million. The building, formerly Murphy & McCoy’s Furniture Store, had been vacant for several years. Another of Messore’s transactions was the sale of 1 Care Lane in West Haven to the University of New Haven. The 30,092-square-foot former Soundview Healthcare Center nursing home sits on 4.5 acres. 


Messore also leased a NuVita Yogurt & Café in the Westfield Mall to a father-and-son retailing team. The café has grown from one location in Orange to additional spots in Milford and Branford, with a fourth in Monroe currently under construction.



The 5,342-square-foot Brix Restaurant (formerly the Pavilion Restaurant during the 1970s and ‘80s) spent 14 years on 1.09 acres at 1721 Highland Ave. in Cheshire. The restaurant building was sold for $715,000, a transaction that earned Steven Press of Press/Cuozzo honors for Business Sale with Real Estate. Press was the listing agent; the transaction closed in February 2012. The seller was BG Associates and the buyer and new operator is Dino Ricciardone, who opened his new Luca Ristorante in Cheshire. Pattie Raffile of C-21 AllPoins Realty represented the buyer.



Honors for Largest Industrial Lease were shared by Matt O’Hare of CBRE and Lou Proto of the Proto Group. The industrial/office building was leased for a ten-year term for $5.9 million.        


Tools and safety products distributor Colony Hardware Corp. leased all 102,610 square feet of space at 269 Lambert Road for its corporate headquarters and distribution center.


Colony Hardware started as a hardware store in Meriden in the 1940s and was purchased by Michael Weiner in 1988. According to the Orange Economic Development Commission, the company has grown to become “the recognized regional leader in the distribution of tools, safety equipment and supplies for professional contractors.” Colony also has a tool repair and rental division and operates locations in Albany, N.Y., Boston and Landover, Md.


O’Hare represented the building owner, Lighthouse Real Estate Ventures. Colony was represented by Proto.



Lou Proto of the Proto Group earned the award for the largest Land Sale, 7.8 acres on lots three and four at Flat Rock Place in Westbrook. The property was owned by Readco Capital Partners of Old Lyme and the sale went to Westbrook Flat Rock, LLC (d/b/a Middlesex Hospital) for $2.5 million for a new 60,000 square-foot emergency center. Proto represented the seller, and Tom Coughlin of Coughlin Management Services represented the buyer.



The largest Retail Lease of 2012 was brokered by Steve Patten of the Proto Group for a transaction at 1467 Whalley Avenue in New Haven, the site of a former Blockbuster Video location. The 4,200-square-feet of retail space was leased for 20 years to C&L Whalley, LLC (d/b/a Denny’s Restaurants) at a value of $1.5 million. Patten represented the landlord ACL/Smartyale, and Denny’s was represented by RHYS Commercial.



The largest Mixed Use Sale was awarded to Frank D’Ostillo of Real Living Wareck/D’Ostilio for a sale at 402 Crown Street and 45 Howe Street in New Haven for $720,000. Current tenants include Enterprise Car Rental. The site was for many years home to New Haven landmark Blessings Chinese Restaurant. The sites consist of two buildings, each approximately 4,000 square feet in size. The seller was Alex Rivera and the buyer 402 Crown, LLC, a local investment mortgage company. Frank D’Ostilio was sole broker in the deal.



The CID Chairman’s Award was presented to Business New Haven Publisher Mitchell Young for the business journal’s ongoing coverage and support of the Commercial Investment Division of the Greater New Haven Board of Realtors. “Young and the newspaper have long shown their commitment to the region’s economic development and the essential role that CID Realtors play,” chairman Mike Richetelli said.