For most of the past four decades most national retail chains and New York financiers alike had essentially redlined New Haven.
The city’s “reputation” for failed policies and struggling business climate was widely accepted and no major developments or office buildings were built that were not financed by well heeled local developers such as David Chase (Connecticut Financial Center) and David Beckerman (One Audubon Street).
Downtown merchants can remember when the Gap fled one of New Haven’s most visible retail locations (intersection of Chapel and College streets) in 2003. They were followed by Talbot’s, which lasted a bit longer but eventually left, too.
The defections created an impression that New Haven’s downtown wasn’t hospitable to national retailers.
But the city’s retail landscape began to improve and Yale’s University Properties (with 85 retail locations) became more aggressive and now that picture has changed in a big way — likely both helping and hurting local retailers and restaurants.
Apple, perhaps the world’s most desirable retail brand, opened in September 2011 on Broadway. The Urban Outfitters was already open for business in newly re-developed high profile space on Broadway, and along with J. Crew another national fan favorite resides next to the Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Together this fearsome foursome helped turn around the national retail in New Haven failure story.
Today several national retailers have discovered New Haven and not all have been brought to Yale University Properties. Chipotle opened in 2013 in what had been the local restaurant Café Bottega (and an earlier failed attempt at resurrecting the Yale Co-Op) in the Chapel Square Mall at Temple and Church streets.
The ever-so-hip Shake Shack brought its burgers to the home of the birth of the burger (talk about an interloper) in a Yale storefront in 2012, and shopping-center favorite Panera Bread found its way to Chapel Street as well.
All three chains appear to be doing very well, while many of New Haven’s restaurants are operating under increasing pressure for business and as we see a steady flow of restaurant failures and replacements in New Haven.
Even lower Chapel Street — a neighborhood once thought to be impossible to attract national tenants — has two new arrivals.
The really hip (they just opened in Park Slope, Brooklyn — what else do you need to know?) employee-owned 23-store Portland, Me.-based, regional chain Artist & Craftsman at 813-817 Chapel Street is opening this fall in a 6,000-square-foot retail location half a block from the New Haven Green.
The building is owned by Pike International, New Haven’s largest residential landlord. Pike is renovating the upper floors for apartments.
Several blocks up Chapel Street across from the Yale School of Architecture is New Haven’s longtime go-to art store, Hull’s Arts Supply, which will now be duking it out with a much larger competitor.
The cachet of Dollar Tree, the store that sells most everything for $1, is nothing to write home about, but now occupies “prime” space in downtown New Haven.
Dollar Tree has located in the seemingly un-rentable 9,000-square-foot space of C.A. White’s CenterPointe residential and retail development at the corner of Church and Chapel.
CenterPointe apartments filled almost immediately more than a decade ago but the large un-modifiable retail footprint was apparently too much for New Haven’s retail base and the space has stayed vacant.
According to the New Haven Independent, Matthew Nemerson, the city’s economic development administrator, tried to convince C.A. White CEO Michael Schaffer to hold out for a tenant more in keeping with a “hipper” version of downtown. But after ten years Schaffer decided it was time to shake the dollar tree.
The story won’t end there, however. Just a bit down the street at 760 Chapel Street is another dollar store, Family Dollar. The two parent companies just began merger talks with Dollar Tree offering $ 9 billion for Family Dollar creating an $18 billion dollar-store behemoth. Among the issues for the companies and the Federal Trade Commission: overlapping retail outlets.
Even as the dollars started to flow for C.A. White just next door to Dollar Tree, Citibank proved they weren’t too big to fail when in March they stole out of New Haven seemingly in the dark of night.
Don’t be surprised to see another bank fill the space, however.
Kiko Milano, a cosmetic brand from Italy, and Emporium DNA, a high-end fashion retailer, will open soon at Broadway and York streets. In a surprising turn, both European retailers are using New Haven as a sort of retail beachhead rather than another add-on. Emporium has only four U.S. locations and Kiko Milano three, the closest of each located in New Jersey.
When Higher One welcomed guests in March 2012 to its new Science Park headquarters, it was a somewhat surreal “grand opening.” The $46 million headquarters in the former Winchester Repeating Arms Co. was for this guest marred by the surroundings. In spite of nearly $20 million of state support for environmental remediation, most of the building still stood in disrepair and a pock-marked face of broken windows and bruised brick greeted all those about to enter.
The main entrance for the company would be around the corner in a renovated 140,000-square-foot space — a testament to the sheer scale of the Winchester site.
Today that has all changed as Forest City, with nearly $9 billion of real estate assets nationwide and manages 40,000 apartments, are now marketing 158 mixed-income loft apartments.
Twenty percent of the apartments, supported by a $4 million state grant, are deemed “affordable” and the rest market-rate. They are expected to fetch between $1,475 and $3,300 monthly.
The $54 million project was financed with the $4 million from the state, $10.6 million of equity from the developer, $23 million in loans and nearly $20 million in federal and state (primarily historic) tax credits.
Carter Winstanley developed the site for Higher One as well as a 1,186-space parking garage and 15,000 square feet in 2009 of still mostly empty retail across from the Winchester building.
With the added residential component and the soon-to-be-built new Yale residential colleges with 700 additional students within walking distance, the retail space is expected to become more attractive.
What do SoHo, Central Park South and Delancey Street on the East Side of Manhattan have in common with New Haven’s State Street (albeit on the other side of the highway from the otherwise trendy neighborhood) besides small shops and pizza, pizza, pizza?
The answer is their ownership, the Manhattan-based Carter Management Co., which purchased Trolley Square at auction for almost $4 million in June.
The scale of the 250,000-square-foot-plus building was apparently too daunting for Brooklyn developer Joshua Guttman, who purchased the building in 2003 for $1.8 million. Guttman had hopes of turning Trolley Square into a beehive of activity, but he may have been too early and/or undercapitalized.
In June Guttman also auctioned off two other large southern New England industrial properties.
His vision may have fallen victim to the recession but in some ways Guttman did prove his concept.
Trolley Square is home to a diverse and interesting group of tenants: artists, a skateboard shop, Capoeira (Brazilian fitness), CrossFit and Aikido centers as well as Digital Surgeons, a growing Internet and digital-services company. All were attracted by the relatively low rents and open floor plans and a promise of continuing improvements.
Carter apparently isn’t promising any big action yet, beyond fixing up the building and working with the city of New Haven on the best continuing use.
We’ll have to wait and see if Carter’s deeper pockets also mean a deeper commitment to the property. Carter recently bought a Delancey Street (Manhattan) property of approximately 50,000 square feet for $21 million. That makes Trolley Square look like a low-risk bargain.
The “skin” is up on 100 College Street, future home of Alexion Pharmaceuticals — and heartbeats are beginning to race downtown.
Alexion is the first major step in undoing the divide that many blame for the secular destruction of downtown a half-century ago.
What was once called the Oak Street Connector (officially Richard C. Lee Highway) is a 1.1-mile-long freeway section of Route 34 that begins at the junction of I-95 and I-91 and terminates at York Street, the Air Rights parking garage.
The connector and Route 34 itself turned into a downtown divider, renting a neighborhood asunder and placing a highway right through the city center. The connector would eventually undermine the goals of Mayor Richard Lee in rebuilding downtown New Haven.
For decades the state department of transportation wouldn’t give up the dream, or more importantly the property, on Route 34.
The wisdom brought on by a growing city, an aggressive mayor (DeStefano) and an empowered legislative group finally brought the state and its Department of Transportation to heel, allowing the city to create the vision of Downtown Crossing.
The Downtown Crossing project will replace the “limited-access highway stub that cuts through downtown with a pair of urban boulevards” and get pedestrians and cars on street level again.
One Hundred College Street sits next to Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale School of Medicine, and also abuts 300 George Street, home to several biotech companies including Achillion Pharmaceuticals. A public company whose stock is on the rise, Achillion itself may soon spread its wings from a pure research company to a full pharmaceutical developer.
The 100 College Street building will be 500,000 square feet, and cost more than $140 million.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, currently in Cheshire (its present property is on the market), had first committed to occupy 300,000 square feet, but the company later pushed for the project to expand to 500,000 square feet and its own occupancy to 400,000 square feet.
There will be some street-level retail on College Street and the Yale School of Medicine will occupy approximately 100,000 square feet as well.
Alexion currently has a $32 billion market cap,, annual sales in excess of $1.5 billion and profits of more than $250 million in the past year.
Economic-development officials became nervous, though, when rumors circulated earlier in the year that Alexion was a takeover target by Swiss pharma giant Hoffman Roche.
The idea didn’t go anywhere. The Motley Fool, an investor-oriented media outlet, called the rumor one of the “three most ridiculous” biotech investment ideas of the year. Since then the lift has gotten even harder for a would-be acquirer as Alexion’s market cap increased by 50 percent from $20 billion, making a buyout even more difficult.
It’s not that a pharma giant couldn’t swing the vig: By contrast Pfizer offered $116 billion for Astra Zeneca (which it turned down). But AZ has annual sales of $25 billion and profits of $2.5 billion, making it ten times Alexion’s size — but only three or four times more expensive.
Alexion is a strong and growing company but it has made its success by developing treatments for rare diseases, not the stuff of “Big Pharma.”
With the aid of a $5 million grant, the development of a 40,000-square-foot business incubator is taking shape in Hamden and is expected to open by mid-2015.
The incubator is at 496 Newhall Street and will be owned and operated by the Hamden Economic Development Corp. (HEDC). The former school has been abandoned since the early 2000s when environmental concerns were raised about the property. Several proposals to reuse the site as a school were consistently opposed by parents, even as the state DEP awarded the site a clean bill of health.
The incubator is expected to be home to as many as 20 small companies.
The HEDC is expected to provide reception, parking, rest rooms, WiFi, conference space, security, etc. — “all at an affordable rent structure,” it says.
In early June, Yale University president Peter Salovey said Yale had reached its fundraising goal for the construction of two new residential colleges.
The expansion of Yale College will be the first since 1969 when the university first began to admit female undergrads. Construction is expected to begin in February 2015 and be completed by 2017. The university will add approximately 700 students, an approximately 15 percent increase in undergraduates.
Yale currently admits less than ten percent of applicants. In 1999 that rate was 20 percent.
The buildings have been designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York. Stern is the dean of Yale’s School of Architecture and will follow the design of Yale’s other colleges, what us plebeians would likely call Gothic architecture. The two new colleges will be located north of the Grove Street Cemetery in the triangle comprised of Prospect, Canal, and Sachem streets in New Haven. The original timetable for construction was to be built by 2015 but was set back by the recession and the hit to Yale’s endowment by the financial collapse.
A plan by Yale’s then-president Rick Levin to raise $400 million of new funds to pay for the school was placed in motion. The fundraising effort was set on its way when Charles Johnson (net worth $5.6 billion), retired chairman of the money-management giant Franklin Templeton Investments, which manages more than $800 billion in assets, gave $250 million to Yale for the effort. This was the largest gift ever by an alumnus.
Aside from his mutual fund career, Johnson is also the largest shareholder of the San Francisco Giants, winners of the 2010 and 2012 World Series. Unlike stadium naming rights, however, Johnson will not get his name on either college. Yale policy is not to name a college after a living person.
Nevertheless, controversy over the naming of the two colleges has roiled the campus. Yale and community members have called for a female namesake or for Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African-American student to graduate Yale College (Class of 1874), and the first American black to earn a Ph.D. degree. (Bouchet was awarded a doctorate in physics from Yale in 1876.)
In making his announcement Salovey said he was ready to go forward and that an additional $80 million had been raised. He added other projects such as a new biology building that had been placed on hold would also go forward, with an opening likely in 2019.
It is hard to miss the new Yale School of Management (SOM) Building at 165 Whitney Avenue. The 242,000-square-foot Edward P. Evans Hall opened in January, designed by Foster + Partners of New York.
Evans was the son of Thomas Mellon Evans, a New York financier who pioneered hostile corporate takeovers in the 1950s and was a cousin of businessman and philanthropist Paul Mellon.
Edward P. Evans was an executive at several family businesses and CEO of the publishing company Macmillan Ltd. He was also known as a breeder and racer of thoroughbred horses.
Evans Hall sits on 4.25 acres and dominates lower Whitney Avenue, which has attracted both critics and admirers. An inner courtyard brings the outside inside, the glass walled interior creating a haven for gathering students and faculty.
Its massive size has put SOM on the map in New Haven and throughout the construction industry. It took 2,000 tons of steel, more than 8,000 tons of concrete, 123 miles of copper wire and apparently a lot of doors — 500 in all. (No word at press time if they came from local stalwart Sargent.)
With a huge increase in retail space expansion regionwide and 2,000-plus residential units coming online in downtown New Haven, clearly an engine of job growth is also needed.
For now, that job is clearly in the hands of the region’s “other” universities.
That fact is no more obvious than with the mid-2013 sale of the former Hubble headquarters to the University of New Haven, as well as Quinnipiac University’s continuing expansion onto the former Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield (now in a sufficiently downsized location on Leigus Road in Wallingford) campus in North Haven.
UNH acquired the 47-acre campus and its 70,000-square-foot building for a new graduate school campus. The satellite campus is located adjacent to the Wilbur Cross Parkway at exits 55 and 56. The Bergami & Pompea Graduate Center recognized the support of Samuel S. Bergami Jr. a 1985 UNH executive EMBA graduate, and Charles E. Pompea who graduated UNH in 1971 and returned in 1990 for a UNH EMBA as well.
The EMBA program apparently was quite effective as Pompea, 65, purchased Primary Steel in 1993 and grew it into a $600 million company.
Now “retired,” Pompea is majority owner of the Springfield (Mass.) Falcons, an American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.
Bergami spent a half-century business career at Alinbal Inc., where he rose from tool-and-die apprentice to CEO and co-owner of the 400-employee manufacturer based in a 200,000-square-foot facility in Milford.
Bergami chaired the UNH Board of Governors between 2006 and 2012 a time that UNH reinvigorated itself. New projects included expansion of the school’s Tagliatela College of Engineering (with major support from another local business leader, Louis F. Tagliatela), the opening of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, several new dorms, the David Beckerman Recreation Center and the Bergami Learning Center for Finance & Technology.
North to the shadow of the Sleeping Giant, Quinnipiac President John Lahey proved again he wasn’t letting the school’s well manicured lawns to grow under his feet when the school purchased Anthem’s North Haven campus. The first class entered last fall at the Frank H. Netter, MD School of Medicine with the support of a $100 million investment from the Netter family.
Netter was a surgeon and renowned medical illustrator whose 4,000 medical illustrations grace many books and medical journals.
The mission of the med school is to develop primary-care physicians. The North Haven campus is also home to QU’s other extensive graduate health career programs and Quinnipiac School of Law.
All this and we still haven’t talked about New Haven’s largest and perhaps most significant development project. Earlier this year city Economic Development Administrator Matt Nemerson confirmed the $400 million multi-phase development is moving forward, powered in part by the momentum of Downtown Crossing and the relocation of Alexion Pharmaceuticals from Cheshire to downtown New Haven (see above).
The ambitious project by Toronto-based Live Work Learn Play will sit on a 4.25-acre site (now surface parking). The former Veterans Memorial Coliseum site will eventually house a 160-room hotel, more than 700 residential rental units, more than 75,000 square feet of retail space and 200,000 square feet of Class A office space. The project’s first phase is expected to house 242 residential units and 39,000 square feet of retail space. Newman Architects of New Haven is the architect for the project.
Significant city and state improvements for stormwater protection and bringing Route 34 to grade as part of the Downtown Crossing plan are needed to bring the project to full fruition. Confronted by doubters, LWLP CEO Max Reim offered he has more than $1 million of “my own and family money” already invested in the project. Phase I has been projected to be completed by the end of 2016 and the full project by 2020.
When Joel Schiavone and a couple of Boston-area investors ponied up eight years ago for a parking lot, four houses and a rat-infested former Chinese restaurant at Chapel and Howe streets in New Haven, many observer scratched their heads over the desirability of the area.
Indeed in a recent interview, former mayor and current banker John DeStefano admitted he was in the doubters camp.
Urban pioneer Schiavone has a back full of arrows and his reach has often exceeded his grasp, but once again he’s been proven true on his knowledge of the trail ahead. Now a new $17 million, six-story luxury apartment block with 136 residential units, 92 parking spaces and 5,000 square feet of retail is taking shape on the property.
New Haven has the Shubert Theater, the College/Chapel Street shopping district and a renewed belief in Fair Haven, for which to thank Schiavone. He originally wanted the space for an apartment block, but couldn’t pull financing in the real-estate collapse that followed the 2006 purchase.
This project however is a major step in tying downtown and Yale student apartment-dwellers to Yale-New Haven’s St. Raphael campus. YNNH’s entrance has already resulted in some properties along that end of Chapel being cleaned up and renovated. Just the other day we saw a female jogger heading up Chapel past the construction site toward the St. Raphael’s outpost.
Yale University itself had considered buying the property in 2008 for its own parking needs when it was building the Yale Sculpture & Gallery Building on Howe Street.
The site had originally been tagged by the DeStefano administration for the Arts High School now located on College street, but was pushed back by neighborhood-dwellers who weren’t eager for high school students to invade their community, as well as Chapel Street retailers weren’t eager to lose prime locations.
Yale tucked its building into a tighter space and opposition evaporated.
The back story on the parking lot acquisition is Yale wanted two of the homes demolished as part of its purchase, but wouldn’t put it in the contract. The university apparently didn’t want to blamed for tearing down the properties.
The owner (Schiavone was out of the picture by then) balked at the terms and Yale eventually included a parking garage in the project to meet its needs, the former restaurant did bite the dust.
Real estate sources (see August BNH) said there was interest in the properties from developers from D.C. to Boston.
Randy Salvatore, president of RMS Co., a Stamford real estate firm that constructs and manages residential and commercial properties, including the “urban chic boutique” Hotel Zero Degrees in Stamford and Norwalk, is developer for the project.
After a 1995 vote by the State Senate rejecting then-Gov. John G. Rowland’s plan for a casino in Bridgeport, the governor and the state would eventually pledge more than $100 million for Bridgeport development plans.
Steelpointe harbor is a 52-acre site on a peninsula on Long Island Sound. Named after a former steelworks on the site, its development had been a priority of six mayors. The first, Leonard Paolettas, started in the early 1980s but couldn’t advance the plan.
Property acquisition that cleared much of the site began with eminent domain takings in the early 1990s.
The project hit its first road block when Mayor Joseph Ganim was convicted in 2003 on receiving $500,000 in bribes and kickbacks. The feds said the money was to support his gubernatorial campaign in exchange for supporting a group of developers to take over the site. Ganim never got the money as the feds started investigating the developers.
The damage to the project was done, however, and it would soon run into a new headwind: the real estate debacle of 2007, which squashed nearly every major development in the Northeast and beyond.
Bob Christoph of RCI Group, a well heeled Miami developer was tapped by the city to develop the project.
The city and state have put $100 million into buying and clearing properties for what is expected to be a project that tops out at $1 billion.
The plan includes what the city and the developer says will be 2.6 million square feet of housing, 200,000 square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of hotel and conference space, a 250-ship marina as well 800,000 square feet of retail space.
The city hopes to yield nearly $20 million in annual tax revenues.
The real estate collapse has left the site vacant and ready for some time.
But today the first anchor, Bass Pro Shops, one of the country’s premier destination retailers is now in the building phase with a 150,000-square-foot store costing $68.5 million to construct with the state kicking in an eventual $30 million for improvements and support. Bass Pro is expected to open next year, employing more than 225 people. Christoph says he has attracted support from two hotel companies and other retailers, but no announcements have yet been made.
Two developers are proposing mixed-use projects that will bind together Wooster Square and downtown New Haven with more than 500 new residences and street-level retail.
Currently the boarded-up former Comcast service center at the southwest corner of Chapel and Olive streets will be demolished and replaced with a new four-story building by Fairfield developer Spinnaker Residential. Community support for the project — which is expected to add 200 one- and two-bedroom apartments with rents in the $1,500-to-$2,000 range and ground-level retail appears strong. The project, however, must first overcome complex zoning challenges before moving forward.
With support from City Hall, aldermen and local community members, the project is expected to go forward even as the developer withdrew his application until more I’s are dotted and T’s crossed.
With easy access to both the State Street and Union train stations, Wooster Square and downtown the project is seen as replacing a no-man’s land with a bridge to Wooster Square and Union Station.
Just down Olive Street, Petra Development is also facing some zoning issues. Its proposal would “create a new neighborhood” including new retail space along Olive and Union Street, townhouses on Fair Street and an apartment block that together would provide a total of 285 new residences, just over the train tracks from downtown and three blocks from Wooster Square.
STORRS — The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees on August 5 unanimously endorsed plans for a new multi-story research building, a large housing complex for science, engineering and math students and a 3,400-foot road extension to link the Storrs campus’ technology park with Route 44.
“Today is really the culmination of all the planning all the work around scientific progress at the university,” UConn President Susan Herbst said.
Science, engineering and medicine are the most expensive fields to invest in because of the highly specialized research equipment they need, said UConn President Susan Herbst in a statement. “But the big picture is that UConn has to boost its research performance,” she said. “There’s no other way to get ahead.”
These projects either are part of “Next Generation Connecticut,” a ten-year, $1.5 billion expansion plan to develop UConn into a leading research university and innovation hub.
A central component of Next Gen involves $162.3 million for what officials have dubbed an “innovation partnership building.” It involves 112,000 square feet in a new, multi-story research building to house cooperative research efforts between UConn students and faculty and private businesses.
But YTD sales figures decline by two percent
BOSTON — Connecticut single-family home sales posted a 5.8-percent increase for the month of June, marking the fourth time in 2014 that sales have increased year-over-year, according to the latest report by the Warren Group.
In all, 2,799 single-family homes sold in June, up from 2,646 a year earlier. This marked the best month for sales since August 2013, when 2,897 homes changed hands. However, second-quarter sales decreased by 4.9 percent, with a total of 6,679 sales recorded compared with 7,020 during the second quarter of last year.
"The housing market in Connecticut is showing signs of improvement as we see the biggest percentage gain in monthly home sales so far this year," said Warren Group CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr. "Real estate closings in June, July and August are typically the highest of the year as the deals made during the spring selling season get officially recorded. While not robust, the Connecticut real estate market continues to show a solid recovery."
Year-to-date home sales statewide were down almost two percent. From January to June, a total of 10,887 single-family homes were sold, compared with 11,101 during the same period a year ago.
Year-over-year home prices fell 3.2 percent in June. The median sales price of a single-family home statewide decreased to $276,000 in June, down from $285,000 in June 2013. The year-to-date median sales price fell 2.0 percent to $250,000, compared with $255,000 during the same period a year ago.
Quarterly prices were also down 2.6 percent, to $263,000 compared with $270,000 during the second quarter 2013.
Condominium sales in Connecticut posted a big gain in June, rising almost 14.1 percent from a year earlier. A total of 760 condos sold in June, compared with 666 a year earlier. Year-to-date condo sales were up 3.8 percent to 3,067 from 2,955 a year earlier.
In the second quarter, 1,883 condos were sold, up 3.1 percent from 1,827 during the same period a year ago.
The median selling price for condos in June was $180,000, up 2.9 percent from $175,000 a year earlier. The second quarter median condo price fell less than 1 percent to $174,000 from $175,000 in the second quarter 2013. The year-to-date median price of condos in the Connecticut was $166,000, down 1.2 percent from $168,000 a year ago.
NEW HAVEN — Construction is underway for a six-story luxury apartment building with street-level retail abuilding on a vacant lot at the northwest corner of Chapel and Howe streets.
The privately funded project broke ground in mid-May at 1145 Chapel Street. It will have 136 upscale apartments, 92 parking spaces and approximately 5,000 square feet of retail space, according to developer Randy Salvatore, president of RMS Cos., a Stamford-based real estate firm that constructs and manages residential and commercial properties. The “urban chic boutique” Hotel Zero Degrees hotels in Stamford and Norwalk are RMS’ handiwork.
Salvatore’s RMS Chapel Street, LLC recently purchased the 53,000 square foot Elm City property for the apartment building —approximately 1.2 acres — for $3,675,000. The deal includes two houses at 169 and 175 Dwight Street, which will be renovated, and a two-family house at 1249 Chapel Street that is part of the Dwight Street historic district and has been relocated to a vacant lot at 1255 Chapel Street.
The seller was Chapel & Dwight, LLC, a group of property owners represented by Steve Witten and Victor Nolletti of Marcus & Millichap.
“We felt its highest use was residential development and marketed as such nationally,” says Nolletti, executive director and senior vice president of investments for M&M’s Institutional Property Advisors group. “The primary buyer pool was between [Washington] D.C. and Boston, and [Salvatore] was the most viable suitor of around a dozen.”
Salvatore first pitched his mixed-used proposal in 2012, following a call from Nolletti about the property. “When I saw it I thought it would make a great apartment site,” he says. “I know New Haven a little bit. At the time my brother was a grad student at Yale School of Architecture.”
The project evolved along with discussions with community members, a lawsuit by the owner of a neighboring building and the city approval process. New Haven’s City Plan Commission unanimously green-lighted the development last December.
The apartments will be a mix of “very modern” studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, with hardwood floors, stainless-steel appliances and stone countertops, Salvatore says. Some will have balconies. Amenities include gathering areas, exercise rooms, a screening room and a rooftop deck.
Salvatore expects a diverse range of tenants, from graduate students and “young people getting their first jobs” to professionals and empty-nesters.
“Things go in cycles,” he adds. “Right now there’s a big push in all demographics for people to move into the urban areas.”
New Haven has become “kind of a 24/7 live-work community,” he says, noting the proliferation of restaurants and cultural activities in the city as well as a “demographic shift to Gen-Xers and a mature successful population” attracted to urban living.
“New Haven is an exceptionally desirable city,” Nolletti adds. “Over the last four years, it has been in the top ten (U.S.) metro areas with the lowest apartment vacancy rates.”
Salvatore estimates the entire project, including the price of the land and the houses, will cost around $17 million. Construction should be completed by spring 2015.
A restaurant could fill the retail space.
“I don’t have anything solidified yet,” Salvatore says. “Just something to create ground-floor activity.”
Salvatore views the upscale apartment building as “a win-win when all is said and done.
“The Chapel West Association was totally in support of the project, and everyone now is excited about it.”
Adds Nolletti, “This is just going to be a phenomenal development for the neighborhood.”
WOODBRIDGE — Beazley Property Management Co. (BPM) is now part of Levey Miller Maretz (LMM). The commercial real estate firm recently purchased Beazley’s assets and stock, according to LMM Principal and broker Steve Miller, who would not disclose the sale price.
The sale is LMM’s latest move into property management.
“About 12 years ago we started managing things for others,” Miller says. “The real estate business in Connecticut has been up and down, and property management [affords] a steady regular monthly cash flow, as opposed to waiting for commissions during the down times.
“About five years ago, we started looking outside of our client base,” Miller adds. LMM bought its first property-management firm, Rolar Management, in 2011.
Since then, Miller explains, “We’ve been trying to increase and broaden our base of property management.” Beazley Property Management was attractive because “They had properties in areas that fit our geography, which covers Milford to Rocky Hill and Guilford to Rt. 8.
“We now manage retail plazas, residential apartments, industrial buildings, a small industrial park, office buildings, mixed-used properties and a couple of things like fraternity houses and parking lots,” Miller adds.
According to Susan Bradford, former president and managing director of Beazley Management Properties, the sale includes 100 percent of BMP stock and eight condo and investment properties.
BPM was part of Beazley Co. Realtors from the 1990s, Bradford said, “until they sold off their real estate and commercial assets in the early 2000s.”
Over the last couple of years, Bradford adds, “My business partners and I were looking to slow down, and we have merged with Levey Miller Maretz so it (BPM) will continue to exist.
“We did talk with quite a few people but we were looking for someone with a [compatible] business model. Levey Miller Maretz came as close as possible.”
BRANFORD — Premier Realty, LLC has purchased two properties at 155 North Main Street — a 5,368-square-foot auto sales building on 2.9 acres and a one-family house in a commercial zone — for $1,125,000. Kevin Geenty and Juan Marquez of the Geenty Group were sole brokers in the transaction. The seller was 155 North Main Street, LLC.
BRANFORD — SECT, LLC has purchased a 17,000-square-foot manufacturing building on a 1.77 acre lot at 69 North Branford Road for $990,000. The seller was BRCT Inc. Tim McMahon of OR&L Commercial represented the buyer. Kevin Geenty and Juan Marquez of the Geenty Group represented the seller.
NEW HAVEN — Netz USA has purchased a 54-unit apartment building at 154 Fountain Street for $2.8 million. Edward Jordan, managing director of investment sales broker Northeast Private Client Group, represented the seller, Lighthouse Group of New Haven. Bradley Balletto, Northeast Private Client Croup’s regional manager for Connecticut, represented the buyer.
SHELTON — Woodgreen Management Inc. has purchased a three-story, 46,364-square-foot Class B office building at 375 Bridgeport Avenue for $6.3 million. Gene Pride and Jeff Dunne of CBRE brokered the deal. The seller was Rugby Realty, which over the previous five years had extensively renovated the property.
BRANFORD — Core Informatics has leased 9,000 square feet at 36 East Industrial Drive. Rich Guralnick of Pearce Commercial represented the tenant. Rich Lee of OR&L Commercial represented the landlord, Albany Road Branford, LLC.
CHESHIRE — Trinity Solar Systems is relocating its Connecticut headquarters from Plainville, Connecticut to a 20,780-square-foot building the company has leased at 611 West Johnson Avenue. Rich Guralnick of Pearce Commercial represented Trinity. Matt O’Hare of CBRE represented the landlord, the Hampshire Cos.
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown Business Park has two new tenants. All Star Software has leased 6,236 square feet at 440 Smith Street and Security Plus has leased 3,200 square feet at 436 Smith Street. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord, BostonMiddletown LLC. Jennifer Gosselin of CBRE New England represented both tenants.
MIDDLETOWN — At 98 Washington Street, Charles Computer Services has leased 2,500 square feet and Change Inc. has leased 3,618 square feet. The landlord is RAMO, LLC. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate was the deal’s sole broker.
MILFORD — Engineered Inserts & Systems Inc. has signed a long-term lease for 3,287 square feet of light manufacturing space at 26 Quirk Road. John Bergin of Pearce Commercial represented the tenant and landlord, Maiorano Holdings, LLC of Milford.
NAUGATUCK — The YoFarm Yogurt Co. has signed a five-year lease for a 70,460-square-foot warehouse/distribution building at 80 Rado Drive. Gerry Matthews of Matthews Commercial Properties Co. represented YoFarm, which is replacing a Coca-Cola bottling and distribution center. Richard Gretsch of Gretsch Commercial Real Estate was the listing broker. The landlord is Naugatuck Industrial 1, LLC.
NEW HAVEN — Next Step Living has leased 804 square feet at the former Powerhouse Building, 458 Grand Avenue. Nick Pinto of Sentry Commercial in Hartford represented the tenant. The Proto Group represented the Landlord, CAPP Associates, LLC of New Haven.
NORTH HAVEN — Life Changing Ministries has leased 9,400 square feet at 30 Montowese Avenue. Phil Barber of Pearce Commercial represented the tenant and landlord, Luigi Ferraro.
NORTH HAVEN — Vivint Solar Holdings Inc. has leased a 15,000-square-foot office/warehouse structureat 50 Divine Street. Jeff Dow of Dow Realty represented the tenant. Dave Melilo and Chris Nolan of Pearce Commercial represented the landlord, 424 Chapel Street, LLC.
WALLINGFORD — Jumping Jacks has leased 1,500 square feet at 950 Yale Avenue for an early childhood activity, learning and play center. Jeff Dow of Dow Realty represented the tenant. Joel Nesson of Press/Cuozzo is the exclusive leasing representative for the landlord, The Hurley Group.
WATERBURY — Nail Pro has signed a five-year lease for 1,423 square feet for a salon at the Aldi/CVS-anchored plaza at 464 Reidville Drive. The Proto Group was sole broker in the transaction. The landlord is 500 Monroe Turnpike Associates, LLC.
WESTVILLE — Style 2000 Salon has signed a five-year lease for 900 square feet at 883 Whalley Avenue. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz was the sole broker. The landlord is 883 Whalley Associates, LLC.
WESTVILLE — Westville Family Dental Centers has inked a five-year lease for 2,500 square foot at 881 Whalley Avenue. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz was the sole broker. The landlord is 883 Whalley Associates, LLC.
WOODBRIDGE — Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria has executed a ten-year lease — its first in Connecticut — at D’Andrea’s Plaza, 1646 Litchfield Turnpike. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz was the sole broker. The landlord is Litchfield Realty Trust. Over the last decade Grimaldi’s has expanded beyond its original Brooklyn site to stores in more than half a dozen states. Miller said the chain is interested in opening as many as a dozen locations in the Nutmeg State.
Vincent Torrens has joined Wareck D'Ostilio Real Estate, after serving in the U.S. Air Force and working as a manager for National Supplement Warehouse. He also has been a job supervisor and project manager building residential and commercial properties.
In the sale of a 175,000 square foot property on 16 acres at 265-269 Old Gate Lane in Milford for $1,695,500, Pearce Commercial represented only the seller, United States Bankruptcy Court, New Haven office.
Paradigm Milford LLC, the buyer and mortgage holder, did not assume an outstanding tax lien of more than $1 million to the city of Milford, but in fact acquired the property subject to the tax lien.
(As of early August the property was on the market, and Angel Commercial represented its owner, Paradigm.)
C. Cowles buys former Marlin plant in No. Haven
After 176 years as a mainstay of the Elm City business community, C. Cowles & Co. is leaving town. The company has acquired the former Marlin Arms factory at 100 Kenna Drive, North Haven for $1.7 million.
“We wanted to combine operations and Water Street facility wasn’t big enough,” explains Cowles CEO Larry Moon.
The Marlin plant, which closed in 2011, is a 226,000-square-foot single-story structure on 23.5 acres, with approximately 20,000 square feet of office space and 206,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.
Moon said he found the site on his own after speaking with several commercial brokers.
The Binswanger Co. represented the property for the seller, the Remington Arms Co. It was initially marketed to firearms manufacturers, according to James M. Panczykowski, executive vice president of Binswanger, which specializes in manufacturing and distribution facilities.
“We had some interest but started shifting gears to mainline manufacturers,” Panczykowski says. “The town of North Haven was instrumental in making the deal with Coles. First Selectman Mike Freda made them comfortable that North Haven was a good spot to be.”
The new location will have a training facility for contractors “and people who use our equipment in the heating industry,” says Moon. “We’re also building a lab that will enable us to develop new and more efficient heating products.”
Founded in 1838, Cowles originally manufactured lanterns for horse-drawn carriages. It now has around 180 full-time employees and six divisions in Connecticut and Massachusetts, including metal stamping, plastic injection molding, commercial lighting, boiler controls and automotive accessories.
After the move is completed, Moon plans to sell Cowles’ New Haven building.
NEW HAVEN — The city’s Office of Economic Development has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the redevelopment of the former Strong School at 69 Grand Avenue.
Proposals for the two-story 33,000 square-foot building on 1.06 acres could include residential, cultural and mixed-use development projects complementing adjacent residential areas on Clinton Avenue and Perkins Street.
Built in 1915, Strong School is part of the Quinnipiac River Historic District Extension and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Developers must be qualified to execute their project in its entirety, including financing, design, community and stakeholder involvement, public approvals, any required environmental remediation and hazardous building material abatement, construction, leasing, marketing, management and operations.
For more information, visit: cityofnewhaven.com/PurchasingBureauOnline/show_oppsIP.asp?RFPID=D101074C-E95F-43DF-9093-67DCC44A7CCE.
The deadline for proposals is 11 a.m. ON June 18.
NEW HAVEN — The Trolley Square Arts and Office Center at 1175 State Street will be auctioned on June 19. The 247,000-square-foot multi-use building is currently 15 percent occupied, with no local management, and generating more than $160,000 in net income, according to the listing at loopnet.com/Listing/18685873/1175-State-Street-New-Haven-CT/
Tenants include Lumber Liquidators and Digital Surgeons.
The opening bid is $1.8 million.
HARTFORD — The state’s Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) is seeking applications for a new round of $20 million in funding for the remediation and redevelopment of brownfield sites throughout the state.
Developers, municipalities and economic development agencies can request as much as $4 million in grants or $2 million in loans.
Awards may be used for activities such as abatement, demolition, site investigation and assessment, groundwater monitoring and installation of institutional controls, and for professional-services fees associated with redevelopment, including legal, planning, design and consulting.
The deadline for applications is June 30. To learn more visit ctbrownfields.gov/.
CHESHIRE — R2M Properties, LLC has purchased a 4,816 square feet industrial condo at 1486 Highland Avenue for $230,000. The seller was J. Lin Properties, LLC. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group was sole broker in the transaction.
SHELTON — Fairfield Realty Group, LLC has bought a 134,000-square-foot office building at 1000 Bridgeport Avenue for $8.1 million. Jeff Dunne, Steven Bardsley and Erik Edeen of CBRE’s New York Institutional Group represented the seller and procured the buyer, 100 Bridgeport Associates, LLC.
WATERBURY — Aijaz Ahmed has acquired a 15,000-square-foot building at 428 West Main Street for $155,000. Brian Godin of Matthews Commercial represented the seller, Joseph Cuda. John G. Famiglietti of Drubner Commercial represented the buyer, who plans to remodel the building into a convenience store.
WESTVILLE — Netz USA, LLC has purchased a 6,963-square-foot building at 1400 Whalley Avenue as well as a 4,368-square-foot building at 150 Westerleigh Road from the Ernest Caccavale family for $385,000. The Proto Group, LLC was the sole broker.
BEACON FALLS — J-Con Inc. has signed a long-term lease for 18,300 square foot building at 104 North Main Street. Ed Godin Jr. of Matthews Commercial was sole broker in the transaction, representing the high-end specialty woodworking company and the landlord, Meadowbrook Homes Inc.
BRANFORD — Planet Barbeque Catering, LLC has signed a three-year lease for 1,250 square feet at 7 Sycamore Way with a drive-in overhead door and office space. Juan Marquez of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the tenant. Robert Reichner of the Michaud Co. represented the landlord, 7 Sycamore Way, LLC.
NORWALK — Datto Inc. has signed an 11-year lease for 100,398 square feet at Merritt 7 Corporate Park. The company will occupy the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of Building 101, which is one of several of the six buildings extensively renovated last year at the 1.4 million square foot Class A office park.
Paul Jacobs, Colin Reilly and Barbara Segalini of CBRE represented Datto, a cloud-based backup, disaster-recovery and business-continuity solution provider. David Fiore and JoAnn Brennan-McGrath of Marcus Partners represented the landlord, Clarion Partners.
Datto was subleasing about 50,000 square feet in Building 101, and spent about a year doing “a full market search with CBRE” before deciding to expand its global headquarters in the building and become a tenant, according to David Fiore, a principal with Marcus Partners, which leases and manages the corporate park.
“What’s important to note is they are a very young company,” Fiore said. “[Employees’] average age is the low 20s, and they started operations in 2006 in small space in Wilton. When they moved to the (Merritt 7) park they had ten to 20 employees. Today they have a couple of hundred. They’re a great employer, and it’s good to see a very high-growth tech company growing in this area.”
OXFORD — Autonomy Technology Inc. has signed a long-term lease for 10,100 square feet at 353 Christian Street. Michael Dillon of Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant, a manufacturer and supplier of electronic components. Ed Godin Jr. of Matthews Commercial Properties represented the landlord, Sippin Management Co.
WALLINGFORD — 3PD Inc. (3PD/XPO Logistics) has signed a long-term lease for 20,000 square feet in the Medway Distribution Center at 25 Research Pkwy. Ed Godin Jr. of Matthews Commercial represented the landlord, Benerofe Properties. A Missouri broker represented the tenant, a national last mile delivery service provider.
WATERBURY — Texas Roadhouse Restaurant has inked a 15-year lease at 330 Reidville Drive. Ralph Calabrese and Tony Valenti of the R. Calabrese Agency were sole brokers in the deal. The landlord is United of Waterbury Limited Partnership.
DeForest (Frosty) Smith of Pearce Commercial has become a Life Member of the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) Institute. The award is given to individuals for their outstanding contributions and long-time service to the organization. Frosty has been a commercial broker for more than 40 years.
Fred Messore has added another feather to his cap. The senior vice president of Colonial Properties does double duty as the economic development director for the town of Seymour, which recently became the winner of one of Connecticut Main Street Center’s 2014 Awards of Excellence. Seymour’s award is for “Renewed Commitment to Main Street,” for its downtown action strategy and Greenway Trail plan.
NEW HAVEN — Harley Hiscock III has joined Dow Realty as a commercial agent. A recent graduate of Colorado State University, where he earned an undergraduate business degree with a concentration in real estate and finance, Hiscock has interned at Dow Realty as a marketing and research analyst intermittently since 2010.
Branford Indust. Lease
BRANFORD –– Frederick Kelly has leased a 1,180-square-foot industrial unit at 4 Sycamore Way. H. Pearce Commercial’s Joel Galvin represented the tenant and the owner, RCR Enterprises LLC.
Clark Leases Milford Unit
MILFORD –– Timothy Kron has leased 800 square feet at 205 Research Drive for office and storage space for his residential and commercial building improvement and maintenance business. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors was sole broker in the transaction. D’Amato Investments, LLC is the landlord.
IP Firm to State St.
NEW HAVEN — DeLio & Peterson has leased 5,5,17 square feet at 700 State Street. John Keogh of Colliers International represented the intellectual property firm. Dave Hansen of CBRE represented the landlord, Acorn Properties.
Sci Park Pens 2 Pacts
NEW HAVEN — P2 Science has renewed and expanded its lease at 4 Science Park, adding 500 square feet of new space to the 1,494 square feet it already occupied. The company is developing chemical processes to convert vegetable oil and other waste materials into soap and similar products.
At 5 Science Park, O’Donnell Programming & Development Co. has leased 3,921 square feet.
John Keogh of Colliers International was the sole broker in both transactions. The landlord is Science Park Development Corp.
Second Time Around
SHELTON –– Vatti-Manhattan Group has renewed its lease for 3,494 square feet at First Shelton Place, 1000 Bridgeport Avenue. Jon Angel of Angel Commercial, LLC represented the tenant. Kevin Foley of Cushman Wakefield represented the landlord, Abbey Road Advisors LLC.
STRATFORD –– Seaboard Industries Inc. has signed a five-year lease for about 32,000 square feet at 100A E. Benton Street for a pool and spa supply warehouse. Robert Shawah of Baldwin Pearson & Company Inc. represented the landlord, Ernest Trefz. Jon Angel of Angel Commercial, LLC represented the tenant.
Betting on Brass City
WATERBURY — AutoPart International has leased 10,000 square foot at 117 East Aurora Street. Vance Taylor of Commercial Realty Group represented the tenant. Bob Bowden of the R. Calabrese Agency, LLC represented the landlord, B&V Realty.
Habitat Finds Salvation
WALLINGFORD — Habitat for Humanity has leased the 7,000-square-foot former Salvation Army Thrift Store at 286 South Colony Road. Angie Hulford of H. Pearce Commercial represented Habitat. The Proto Group represented the landlord, Fulton Forbes Inc.
Puppet House Sold
BRANFORD –– The Legacy Theater has purchased the Stony Creek Puppet House, 128-132 Leetes Island Road, for $475,000. Joel Galvin and Leah Boyd of H. Pearce Commercial represented the seller, the estate of James Weil. Lisa Whitney of Calcagni Real Estate represented the buyer.
Indust./Flex Bldg. Sold
WALLINGFORD — A 24,794-square-foot light industrial/flex building at 10 Beaumont Road has a new owner. Phil Marshall of OR&L Commercial represented the buyer, Beaumont Road, LLC and seller, ASE Group LLC. The purchase price was $775,000.
Pulaski Park Bldg. Sold
WALLINGFORD — Technical Systems Inc. has purchased a 12,004-square-foot industrial building in Pulaski Industrial Park, 116 North Plains Industrial Highway for $515,000. Constructed in 1984, the single-story building is fully occupied. Bernie Dianna of Levy Miler Maretz represented the buyer. Ralph L. Calabrese and Tony Valenti of the R. Calabrese Agency represented the seller, Wells Fargo Bank, NA.
W-bury Apts. Fetch $1.75M
WATERBURY — Laui, LLC has purchased the 66-unit Westview House Apartments, 170 Hillside Avenue for $1,745,000, or nearly $26,500 per unit. Waterbury Carlton Apartments, LLC was the seller. Bradley Ballett of Northeast Private Client Group was the sole broker.
Up to $80,000 available through ‘Re: New Haven’ program
NEW HAVEN — The Livable City Initiative (LCI) has launched “Re: NEW HAVEN,” a campaign offering up to $80,000 in incentives to new homebuyers.
The goal is to attract “20- and 30-somethings who are looking to buy starter homes in the city, as opposed to Orange, Branford and Woodbridge, and probably work at start-up companies,” says LCI Executive Director Erik Johnson. “We want to bring the middle class back into the city.
And, Johnson adds, to boost the current city homeownership rate of around 32 percent to at least 35 percent.
“Re: NEW HAVEN” debuted in early May with billboards, posters and a website, renewhavenct.com.
There are three types of incentives for new homebuyers.
One is an update of an interest-free loan program, providing $10,000 for down payments or closing costs for first-time homebuyers, which is 100-percent forgivable if the homebuyer occupies the home for five years. City employees, teachers, police officers, firefighters or military members can receive an additional $2,500.
Another inducement is a loan of as much as $30,000 for qualified energy saving home upgrades, forgivable if the buyer lives in the home for ten years.
The third incentive ties in with the city’s New Haven Promise program, which offers scholarships covering full tuition (up to $10,000 per year) at a Connecticut public two- or four-year college or university. Recipients must be New Haven residents who have lived in the city for a decade, attend New Haven public schools or approved city charter schools, complete 40 hours of community service during high school, have a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher at graduation, a 90-percent attendance record and a positive disciplinary record.
To be eligible for the incentives, applicants’ income must not exceed 120 percent of the area’s family median income.
“We currently have around $3 million in the current pot of incentive [money],” Johnson explains. “If we demonstrate we are creating home ownership, the state and the board (of Aldermen) will give us more.”
BOSTON, Mass. — Single-family home sales in Connecticut rose 3.2 percent in March compared with March 2013, according to a new report from the Warren Group. This is the 11th consecutive month of home sale increases in Connecticut.
There were 1,583 single-family homes sold this March, a slight gain from the 1,534 homes sold in March 2013. Sales of single-family homes were up by 2.9 percent to date for 2014. Statewide, a total of 4,198 transactions were completed in the first quarter of the year compared with 4,081 in the first quarter of 2013.
The median price of single-family homes fell by 8.2 percent in March, selling at $225,000 compared with $245,000 in the same month last year. Prices of single-family homes also declined by 2.1 percent in the first quarter, with a median selling price of $230,000 compared with $234,900 last year.
"The continued increase in the number of single-family homes is evidence that the market continues to recover," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group. "The modest decline in median prices in March is the first decline the state has seen since June 2012. That's makes it an aberration of the data and not the start of new trend."
Condominium sales remained robust in March, with an 8.1 percent increase over the same month of 2013. There were 442 recorded sales, up from 409 in March 2013. Condo sales were up by 4.9 percent in the first quarter of the year compared with the first quarter last year.
The median price for a condo fell in March by 3.5 percent to $154,500 compared with $160,000 in March 2013. Overall, the median price of a condo was down slightly by 0.9 percent in the first three months of the year compared with the first quarter of last year.
The New Haven office market has hit the doldrums.
During the first three months of 2014, “A dearth of transactions produced virtually no statistical change from the end of 2013,” according to the Colliers International’s New Haven Quarterly Market Report, which tracks occupancy levels in 60 Elm City office buildings. Overall vacancy in the 5.2 million square feet of office space declined by 1,203 square feet, staying at 15.3 percent of inventory.
Cushman & Wakefield’s Q1 2014 New Haven Marketbeat Office Snapshot reports a three point year-over-year rise in New Haven County vacancies, from 15.6 during the first quarter of 2013 to 18.6 percent during the first quarter of 2014, with lackluster leasing activity and “no lease transactions of significance in either the New Haven Periphery or Eastern New Haven County.”
Colliers notes the sale of the 17,000 square foot Palladium Building at 135 Orange Street as “probably the most significant event” of the quarter. The price was $1,950,000, or around $115 per square foot. This suggests “Buyers are willing to pay a premium” for prime downtown properties, writes Colliers broker John Keogh, who adds that the new owner, Juan Salas-Romer of NHR Properties, “says he is keeping the building in office use.”
Alexion Pharmaceuticals leased 19,217 square feet at 7 McKee Place in Cheshire, Cushman & Wakefield reports, “representing the majority of the leasing activity in northern New Haven County, which had the most leasing of all of the New Haven submarkets” for the quarter.
The development of 360 State Street, a mixed-use high-rise building that opened in 2010, has triggered steadily rising values in nearby properties, and the area is “poised for more redevelopment,” according to the Colliers market report.
Despite construction underway for the heavily subsidized 100 College Street project, with its 400,000-square-foot headquarters for Alexion, Keogh says the overall trend is creation of living space rather than office space. Nearly 1,000 high-end apartments have come online in downtown New Haven over the last 15 years, and at least 200 more are under construction, including 160 luxury digs at CenterPlan Cos.’ new building at College, Crown and George Streets, which also will have 20,000 square feet of retail space.
During the first quarter of 2014, the overall citywide vacancy rate for Class A space was 23.8 percent, according to the Colliers report. That inventory, Colliers explains, consists mainly of general office space unlikely to attract government incentives and “not suitable for research-oriented companies like Alexion that might be attracted to the cluster of medical enterprises around Yale-New Haven Hospital.”
The Cushman & Wakefield report expects medical demand to “remain healthy, with requirements from multiple organizations in the area, most of which are set to be fulfilled over the course of the next year or two.” Office space, however, “will be slower to pick up “ and rental rates “will continue to flag.”
Eileen Russell, of the Pearce/George J. Smith Milford Commercial office, has been named the company’s 2013 Rookie of the Year.
“It is difficult, and therefore rare, for a new commercial agent to outperform all new real estate agents, since transactions are lengthy and the learning curve is steep,” Pearce President Barbara Pearce said in a statement. “Eileen is to be commended for the hard work and sales skills that got her to this point so quickly.”
Russell previously worked as an information technology professional in New York City and Fairfield County, for employers including New York Life, Con Edison, U.S. Trust Bank, Financial Technologies, the NASDAQ Stock Market, ING Financial Services and Pitney Bowes.
HAMDEN — The Bonadies Law Firm has purchased a 3,520-square-foot freestanding office condominium at 3190 Whitney Avenue for $265,000. Robert Errato of Metro Real Estate represented the buyer. Jed Backus and Phil Backus of Backus Real Estate, LLC represented the seller, CIT Corp.
HAMDEN — A 2,188-square-foot office building on 0.17 acres at 2529 Whitney Avenue has changed hands for $314,500. Stephen Press and Kevin Walker of Press/Cuozzo represented the seller, Dena Khebl and the buyer, 2529 Whitney, LLC.
HAMDEN — The 1,800-square-foot Kamp & Nielsen building at 2935 Dixwell Avenue has been sold for $275,000. Stephen Press of Press/Cuozzo represented the owner, Kamp Family Associates, LLC. Lynn Weed of Weed Realtors represented the buyer, 2935 Dixwell Avenue, LLC.
MIDDLETOWN — Opportunity Real Estate Equities, LLC, has purchased a 4,444-square-foot building at 93-97 Broad Street for $172,000. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, the American National Red Cross. Joe Fazekas of RE/Max MarketPlace represented the buyer.
MIDDLETOWN — Abarientos Middletown Real Estate, LLC, has acquired a 6,084-square-foot building at 80 East Main Street for $377,000. The buyer will use the top floor for a medical office. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate was sole broker in the transaction. The seller was Phillip H.W. Redford.
NORTH HAVEN — RAB Properties, LLC has purchased a 4,000-square-foot office condominium at 250 State Street for $450,000. Chris Nolan of Pearce Commercial represented both the buyer and the seller, BGSM LLC.
SOUTHINGTON — Delmic Enterprises, LLC has purchased a 13,325-square-foot industrial building on 1.34 acres at 24 Robert Porter Road for $757,000, for Target Sports USA, which sells firearms, ammunition and gun-related equipment online. Carol Karney of O,R&L Commercial represented the seller, David Scranton. Carl Berman of NAI Elite Commercial represented the buyer.
BRANFORD — There are two new tenants at 23 Business Park Drive. Anchor Science, LLC has leased 550 square feet for a chemical laboratory. Team Tugman WC has leased 2,300 square feet for a wrestling training program. Jeff Vargacheck of Re/Max Right Choice represented Anchor Science. Joe Iammuno of Arnold Peck's Commercial World in Orange represented Team Tugman. Kristin Geenty of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the landlord, Todd's Hill Investment Circle, LLC.
MIDDLETOWN — Dunkin Donuts has leased 2,140 square feet at 423 Main Street. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord, R. Balaban Realty, LLC. Wayne D’Amico of RE/Max Right Choice represented the tenant.
MIDDLETOWN — Connecticut Underwriters Inc. has leased 8,471 square feet on the second floor of the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate, 421 Wadsworth Street. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate was sole broker in the deal. The city of Middletown/Long Hill Estate Authority is the landlord.
MIDDLEFIELD — Alpine Environmental has leased 5,000 square feet at 41 Commerce Circle. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate represented the tenant. Kyle Roberts of CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, CSK Realty, LLC.
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown Business Park has two new tenants. Connecticut Carbide & Tool Service Inc. has leased 2,190 at 432 Smith Street, while FIA Inc. has leased 1,114 square feet at 450 Smith Street. Both tenants were unrepresented. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord, BostonMiddletown, LLC.
MIDDLETOWN — Dance Outfitters and Reality Interactive have become tenants at Main Street Market, 366-386 Main Street. Reality Interactive has leased the top two floors, totaling 6,174 square feet of office space. Dance Outfitters has leased 1,300 square feet of retail space in the market area. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate was the sole broker. The landlord is Main Street Market, LLC.
MIDDLETOWN — Five new tenants have taken up occupancy at 438 Main Street. CardFellow has leased 360 square feet, Dwight Norwood leased 302 square feet, Cosys Systems, LLC leased 385 square feet, Ted Mikulski/Empty Lighthouse leased 367 square feet and Daniel G. Diaz leased 912 square feet. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate represented the tenants and the landlord, Hilltop Associates.
NEW HAVEN — A to Z Property Preservation Inc. has leased an industrial condominium at 420 Sackett Point Road. Karen Charest of Calcagni Real Estate represented the tenant. Dave Melillo of Pearce Real Estate represented the landlord, Robert DeMorro.
WALLINGFORD — P&L Realty Associates, LLC has leased 1,500 square feet at Yale Plaza, 950 Yale Avenue. Lisa Golebiewski of Realty Associates represented the tenant. Joel Nesson of Press/Cuozzo represented the landlord, 950 Yale Ave. LLC.
BRIDGEPORT — The long-anticipated redevelopment of the historical Steel Point neighborhood, plans for which have spanned six mayoral administrations in the Park City, may actually get underway this summer. That’s when construction is scheduled to commence on the project’s first anchor, a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops, which sells marine and outdoor equipment.
Eventually the city plans to add additional shops, hotels, a public waterfront and more than two million square feet of housing in a project whose total price tag is expected to approach $1 billion.
Steel Point sits between the Pequonnock River and the Yellow Mill Channel, bordered on the north by I-95 and by Long Island Sound on the south.
All told the city and state combined have spent some $100 million on redevelopment efforts over three decades, but their efforts have been hampered by property disputes, three recessions and a corruption scandal involving Mayor Joseph Ganim, who was convicted in 2003 on charges tat included accepting some $500,000 in bribes and kickbacks.
The state of the region’s small-business real-estate market
The search for rentable space in downtown New Haven may become a bit easier in the near future when two major projects fulfill the need for small businesses looking to establish or expand operations here.
Two projects that have been proposed or are just getting under construction stand to deliver upwards of 100,000 square feet of new retail space and 200,000 square feet of new office space, in addition to the build-out planned within the footprint of Route 34 slated to host several new buildings.
A project to develop the long-vacant former New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum site on George Street took a step closer to startup when the Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a developer agreement last December. Montreal-based Live Work Learn Play (LWLP) proposed a $395 million development featuring residential units, an office tower, a hotel, shops, restaurants and public spaces to fill the 4.65-acre site. Usage will comprise 200,000 square feet of office space, 30,000 to 77,000 square feet of retail space, 1,000 residential units and 160 hotel rooms.
Another project moving forward is development of a parcel of land located at the corner of George and College streets, which will add significant space for downtown retail.
Developer Robert Landino, of CenterPlan College Square, LLC of Middletown, won approval last June from the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals to build a $65 million six-story mixed use building housing 20,000 square feet of retail space and 160 apartments, with underground and street-level parking. The project is slated for completion in August 2015 (see March 2014 BNH).
“We have nearly full occupancy in the Broadway district and on mid- and upper Chapel Street,” says Helen Rosenberg, an economic development officer for the city of New Haven. “The same goes for the Ninth Square area, which is almost fully occupied.”
Rosenberg says the downtown areas most suitable for retail small businesses and street-level office space are located on Chapel Street between Church and State streets. There are a few vacancies on Church Street between George and Crown streets and on Temple Street between Chapel and Crown streets.
Jeff Dow of Dow Realty Co. agrees with Rosenberg and notes that defining what a small business needs may depend on how many employees a company has or how much space it requires to operate.
“The space requirement can vary greatly based on the number of employees,” says Dow. “You can have a two- or four-person company occupy 200,000 square feet or they can occupy 1,000 square feet. In greater New Haven, I don’t think there have been a lot of new businesses. I think there may be more space on the market than there was a year ago. In the suburbs, it’s about the same even for industrial and warehouse space.”
According to a CoStar report furnished by Dow, industrial vacancies in greater New Haven are hovering at nine percent, while the office vacancy rate is slightly below that mark. Retail space vacancies in the area are slightly above five percent in what most real-estate professionals agree is statistical full occupancy.
John Wareck, managing broker/owner of Real Living Wareck D’Ostillio Real Estate, sees New Haven as a vibrant city that is attracting national as well as local businesses that want to locate downtown where there are some spaces for lease.
“Of course there is interest in moving to New Haven,” says Wareck, who also chairs the Commercial Investment Division (CID) of the New Haven Board of Realtors. “Even the national franchises that are coming in, like Pinkberry Yogurt, will have both full-time and part-time employees comprising a small business here on Chapel Street in the former Savitt Jewelers store” at 1064 Chapel Street.
Wareck notes the availability of the former Wells Fargo Bank branch at 205 Church Street that offers 23,000 square feet that can be subdivided.
“We certainly could accommodate small businesses that need 5,000 or 10,000 square feet there,” adds Wareck. “The low vacancy rate is a good sign that New Haven is getting stronger and getting better. However, we’re also losing commercial square footage that’s coming off the market to developers who are putting in residential units. We’re seeing it in a big way at the Wells Fargo Bank building [the former Union Trust building] on the corner of Elm and Church streets, where the bank is the sole occupant of the first floor and the upper floors that were office space are being converted to residential.”
Wareck notes the same thing happened several years ago when the upper floors of the building that houses Citibank on the corner of Church and Chapel streets were converted to residential use. He says many of the floors formerly dedicated to office space in the 900 Chapel Street building have been converted to residential units as well.
“Downtown New Haven is in somewhat of a unique position where there is plenty of potential land development,” says Wareck. “There is the whole Route 34 connector area, where Winstanley is putting up the first building, but they have another eight acres there that could be developed. If there were demands for it, the administration could figure out how to accommodate small business growth there.”
“In the suburban areas outside New Haven, given the recession that’s happened, there are a lot of people who were put out of business or lost their jobs and have started small businesses,” says Rich Guralnick, senior broker of the business development group at H. Pearce Real Estate. “They run the gamut from retail to small service businesses. Over the past two years, I’ve seen an increase in the availability of small retail plazas and flex industrial space in places ranging from Milford to Cheshire to Madison — basically in New Haven County.”
“There’s been a lot of infill by smaller businesses run by people who need a second job where the wife or husband has lost their job,” adds Guralnick. “A lot of these spaces, whether it’s on Route 1 or Route 5, have filled up over the last 24 months, frankly. In most retail markets within New Haven County, namely along Route 1, Route 5 and along State Street in North Haven, have basically filled up. I literally have no more product.”
Guralnick sees the business climate improving for small businesses and the vacancy rate shrinking from where it stood two years ago.
“It’s doing well but at a somewhat lower level within a tenant market, where the tenant has the power versus the landlord,” says Guralnick. “The landlord might have lost a larger tenant using 12,000 square feet and now he’s willing to accommodate three 4,000-square-foot tenants in that same space. All of the service and retail businesses, like a day-care center or a beauty salon, have filled in spaces of 1,000 to 5,000 square feet in the last 24 months.”
Guralnick says that business owners have become more adaptable when looking for space that fits their needs.
“On the service side for flex industrial space, which is swing space that can be used for light industrial or office space, I’ve found that segment of the market has done very well,” says Guralnick. “It’s capturing smaller office tenants that don’t want to pay the big bucks of a Church Street space or Class A suburban office buildings. I’ve seen a lot of doctors, accountants and insurance companies opting not to go to the larger multi-tenant office buildings but instead go to a flex space in suburbia, where there’s no charge for parking. New Haven is a killer for parking, where it costs $150 to $200 per car per month — which can add $5 a square foot to the rent.”
“There’s no doubt that New Haven is moving in the right direction,” says Wareck. “The leasing market is growing stronger and we’re seeing more start-ups in small businesses locate in the city and operate here.”
NEW HAVEN — Celebrity chef Mario Batali may be expanding his restaurant empire to a 2,500-square-foot space at 278 Park Street.
His Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group is seeking city approvals for a Tarry Lodge restaurant.
“The space was originally zoned for a 54-seat restaurant, which is really too small for our purposes,” says Tarry Lodge managing partner Nancy Selzer. “We need 74 seats. We’re also going to be seeking a restaurant liquor license.”
If all the hurdles are surmounted, Selzer adds, the new restaurant will be similar to the Tarry Lodge in Westport, which has a wood-fired pizza oven and is a “more casual style” eatery than the “fine dining” flagship Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, N.Y.
The Batali group is working with Yale, which leases 278 Park Street from St. Thomas Moore Corp.
HAMDEN — The town is seeking developers for the former Michael J. Whalen Middle School property, a 13-acre site containing four buildings and 140,000 square feet.
The deadline for proposals is 11 a.m. April 25.
NORTH HAVEN — More than 15 H. Pearce Real Estate agents and staff recently prepared and served dinner for 100 residents at Columbus House, a local homeless shelter. The company says such volunteer work exemplifies the Pearce’s ongoing commitment to community service.
BRANFORD — May Pasqualoni has purchased the Shoreline Laundromat, 20 Alps Road for $30,500. Frank Greco and Mike Boyarsky of Colonial Properties represented the seller, Heather Vause. The buyer was unrepresented.
BRANFORD — The U.S. Army has acquired 15 acres for an Army Reserve Training Center at 777-779 East Main Street. The sale price was $3,706,850. Part of the 86-acre Bittersweet Farm site, the parcel was sold by Bittersweet Partners, LLC. The Proto Group was the sole broker in the transaction.
MERIDEN — Phoenix Realty Group has teamed with PCCP, LLC to purchase Newbury Village, a 180-unit multifamily community at 211 Pomeroy Avenue, for $27.5 million.
Phoenix will manage the property, which will undergo an upgrade and has been renamed Alvista Willow Brook.
Jeffrey Dunne, Patrick Carino and Mike Stone of CBRE represented the seller, Winthrop Realty Trust, and procured the buyer.
MILFORD — Paradigm Milford LLC has purchased a 175,000-square-foot property on 16 acres at 265-269 Old Gate Lane for $1,695,500.
John Bergin, Carl Russell, and DeForest Smith of H. Pearce Commercial represented both the buyer and the seller, U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Haven.
The buyer also has assumed an outstanding tax lien of more than $1 million due to the city of Milford.
Formerly used by Aerosols Techniques Inc., the property had been vacant for 18 years.
NEW HAVEN — The APT Foundation has purchased a 27,640-square-foot office building at 495 and 517 Congress Avenue for $2.8 million. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz represented the buyer. Frank Hird of OR&L Commercial represented the seller, 495 Congress LP and Mortgage Investors V, LLC.
NEW HAVEN — Grand Market, LLC has acquired a 7,659-square-foot retail plaza at 240 Grand Avenue for $475,000. Phil Marshall and Toby Brimberg of OR&L Commercial represented the seller, Peoples United Bank. The buyer was unrepresented.
ORANGE — Jone Heo and Jiyenu Sung have purchased a 9,700-square-foot strip mall at 512 Boston Post Road for $940,000. The sellers were James and Margaret Lu. Joseph Han of Weichert Regional Properties was the sole broker.
WALLINGFORD — Wallingford Business Park LLC (WBP) has acquired Wallingford Business Park, 718 North Colony Road for $4.55 million.
Naugatuck Wallingford, LLC sold the 389,000-square-foot property. Dan Garofalo of Reno Properties Group (RPG) was sole broker in the deal.
RPG has a contract with WBP to manage the business park, including plans to increase the property’s energy efficiency.
WATERBURY — Pashtan Properties, LLC has purchased 122-134 East Main Street for $960,000. The four-story, 19,816-square-foot building houses four storefronts and 12 apartments. John Famiglietti of Drubner Commercial represented the buyer and the seller, Wolfpitts Associates, LLC.
BRANFORD — Shoreline Center for Family Counseling & Psychotherapy, LLC has leased 2,688 square feet at 9 Business Park Drive. Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group, Realtors was the sole agent. The landlord is Bellaire Properties, LLC.
BRANFORD — The Westview Company, LLC has leased 1,024 square feet at 11 Sycamore Way. Branford. The landlord is Gray Eagle Corp. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors was the sole agent in the transaction.
GUILFORD — World Champion Taekwondo has leased 1,200 square feet at 639 Boston Post Road. Kristin Geenty of the Geenty Group represented the tenant. Juan Marquez of the Geenty Group represented the landlord, Childress & Duncan, LLC.
HAMDEN — Highwood Square at 953 Dixwell Avenue has three new tenants. Hamden Dental Case signed a five-year lease for 1,467 square feet, Hamden Health Insurance Store penned a two-year lease for 477 square feet and Jeremy Chandler inked a two-year lease for 412 square feet. Fred Messore of Colonial Properties was the sole broker. The landlord is Highwood Square Limited Partnership.
MERIDEN — The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut has leased 11,236 square feet in the Meriden Enterprise Center, 290 Pratt Street, to house its administrative offices and a common meeting space for Episcopalians from around the state.
Peter Holland of Goman + York Property Advisors, LLC represented the diocese. Peter S. Shiue of Colliers International represented the landlord, 290 Pratt Street, LLC.
MILFORD — Coastal Canine Grooming, LLC has signed a two-year lease for 800 square feet at 253 Naugatuck Avenue. Frank Greco of Colonial Properties was sole broker in the deal. The landlord is Albert Faustini Family Trust.
MILFORD — Hobby Lobby Stores has signed a ten-year lease for 43,148 square feet at 1777 Boston Post Road, a building formerly occupied by Sports Authority. The lease value is more than $5.6 million .The Proto Group represented the landlord, 1777 BPR Associates Limited Partnership. Rob Robledo and Kevin Higgins of CBRE/Grossman represented Hobby Lobby.
NEW HAVEN — Jordan's Furniture has signed a 20-year lease valued in excess of $16 million for 197,581 square feet at 40 Sargent Drive, the former New Haven Register building. This will be Jordan’s first store in Connecticut. Tim Fegan and Rob Robledo of CBRE represented the landlord, 40 Sargent Drive, LLC. The Proto Group represented the tenant.
NORTH HAVEN — Rockville Bank has signed a 15-year lease valued in excess of $1.3 million at the North Haven Shopping Center, 117 Washington Avenue. There will be a new 2,500-square-foot bank branch and a 2,500-square-foot second-floor loan office at the location. Jay Fisher of Accubranch (real estate experts for banks and credit unions) represented the bank. The Proto Group represented the landlord, Luciani Realty Limited Partnership.
ORANGE — Sun West Mortgage has signed a three-year lease for 2,000 square feet at 263 Boston Post Road. Brita McGee of Colonial Properties represented the landlord, Consolidated Management, LLC. Dick Brown of Remax Right Choice represented the tenant.
OLD SAYBROOK — Interior Partitions Specialist, LLC has leased 1,793 square feet at 20 Research Parkway. Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the tenant. Kevin Geenty of the Geenty Group represented the landlord, Mill Meadow Development, LLC.
ROCKY HILL — Sally Beauty Supply has signed a ten-year lease for 2,029 square feet at Town Line Plaza, 80 Town Line Road. Dan Neaton of Saugatuck Commercial represented the landlord, Acadia Realty Trust. The Proto Group represented, and is exclusive broker for, the tenant.
WEST HAVEN — Sangam Beauty Salon has leased 750 square feet at 973 Boston Post Road. Brita McGee and Frank Greco of Colonial Properties were the sole brokers. The landlord is 973 Orange Avenue, LLC.
WEST HAVEN — The Happy Lung has leased 736 square feet at 97 Campbell Avenue. Fred Messore of Colonial Properties was the sole broker, representing the tenant, which sells e-cigarettes and upscale juices. The landlord is the Peschell family.
WEST HAVEN — The Tortilla Villa Inc. has leased 4,000 square feet at 107 Campbell Avenue. Fred Messore of Colonial Properties was the sole broker in the transaction. The landlord is the Peschell family.
WEST HAVEN — Attorney Benita Lee has leased 736 square feet at 486 Derby Avenue. Fred Messore of Colonial Properties was the sole broker. The landlord is 486 Derby Avenue, LLC.
Nine consecutive months of home-sales hikes for state
Single-family home sales in Connecticut rose 2.0 percent in January, according to a new report from the Warren Group, publisher of The Commercial Record. This marks nine consecutive months of home sale increases in the Nutmeg State.
There were 1,435 single-family homes sold in the month of January, up from 1,402 in January 2013. More home sales were recorded this month than any other January since 2009.
"The modest increase in single-family homes sales for January is smaller than the 6.0 percent increase that was recorded for the full year of 2013," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren Group. "We expect to see bigger gains once the spring market gets in full swing. I think there is pent-up demand that will drive home sales upward."
The median price for Connecticut single-family homes sold in January was reported at $230,000, unchanged from January 2013.
"Median prices have remained flat on a year-over-year basis for three months in a row now," Warren said. "Higher interest rates may be holding down recent price increases. In 2013 median prices rose 8.3 percent."
Condominium sales in January fell by 7.0 percent with 387 recorded sales, down from 417 in January 2013.
Condo median prices also fell slightly in January. The median price decreased by less than half a percentage to $162,500 compared with $163,000 in January 2013.
For additional information visit thewarrengroup.com.