February sales fall for first time in 13 months

 

BOSTON — February home sales in Connecticut declined for the first time in more than a year as demand outstripped supply and the shortage drove median prices higher, according to the Warren Group. Condo sales also slipped.

Single-family home sales statewide dropped to 1,149 units, down 7.7 percent from the 1,245 units sold during the same month in 2012. It was the first decline since December 2011.

"Two factors caused this modest drop in February: low inventory and a comparison with a strong previous year of sales," said CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr. "Even so, I'm still hopeful for a strong spring market. As more sellers list their homes in the spring, activity will pick back up."

To date in 2013, single-family home sales are down nearly two percent from a year ago. Statewide, 2,542 transactions were executed in the first two months in the year, down from 2,577 during the equivalent period in 2012.

Median prices rose more than seven percent in February to $225,000 from $210,000 in 2012. The year-to-date median home price is also up about seven percent — from $210,000 a year ago to $225,000 in 2013.

February condominium sales fell in Connecticut to the lowest sales level in two years. There were 306 condo sales in February, down almost 11 percent from 343 sales during the same month of 2013.

According to Warren, this is the lowest level of sales since February 2011, when there were 302 transactions statewide. Year-to-date condo sales are up modestly, rising slightly less than two percent to 720 from 706 last year.

The median price for condos sold statewide in February declined almost ten percent to $139,516, down from $155,000 during the same month last year.

The median selling price for condos sold in January and February was $155,000, unchanged from the median price recorded a year ago.

 

 Confidence is running high among industry professionals polled for the latest McGladrey Commercial Real Estate Index, which measures the health of Connecticut’s commercial real estate market in office, industrial, retail and investment.

 

The overall index rose to a record high of 26.5 in the first quarter of 2013, up seven points year-over-year and up sharply from 14.9 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Current market conditions also reached a new high, climbing to an index level of 26.7 versus 17.8 a year ago. Future expectations set a new index high of 26.3, rising 11 points from the final quarter of 2012 and up four points year-over-year.

 

Ninety-two real estate brokers, real estate developers, bankers, appraisers, and economic development officials from around the state participated in the most recent survey, which also showed respondents were downbeat about the economy and slow job growth.

 BRANFORD –– The RE/MAX Alliance franchise at 10 Pine Orchard Road has a new owner. George Scott, who worked for William T. Beazley Co. for two decades, has acquired the office from co-owners Phil Carloni and Alison Barbaro. The office name will remain the same, and all 22 employees will remain on the payroll.

 NEW HAVEN –– Two downtown parcels are being auctioned.

One property, 4.87 acres at 240 Winthrop Avenue, is the site of a 71,585-square-foot former nursing home and 2,844-square-foot former administration building. The property is in a residential zoning district (RM1). 

The second parcel, at 790 George Street, is 12 acres of vacant land in a general business district (BA) with 43 feet of frontage on George Street.  The properties are a mile from Yale-New Haven Hospital and two blocks from its Saint Raphael campus. Potential uses include multi-family, convalescent, elderly housing, garden apartments, day care and assisted living. Bids are due April 10 at 5 p.m.

More information is available at: auctionadvisors.com/auctions/property-details/former_nursing_home_redevelopment_opp_2.

 NORWALK –– A shopping center at  542 Westport Avenue has become the first project in the state to receive financial assistance for energy-efficiency improvements from the Commercial & Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (C-PACE). Lighting upgrades to the plaza, owned by Margaret and Michael Sarno of Weston, cost $285,000 and are expected to reduce electricity costs by $17,500 a year. The Sarnos also may use C-PACE to finance a 100-kilowatt solar electric system.

Passed by the state legislature in 2012, C-PACE is aimed at commercial, industrial and multifamily property owners, who can finance qualifying energy-efficiency and renewable-energy improvements through a special assessment (lien) on their property tax bill, which is repaid over a period of up to 20 years. The owner obtains funding directly with a private capital provider.

Here’s a link to more details about the program: dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=CT98F.

 WALLINGFORD –– The Campus at Greenhill, 108 Leigus Road, has received LEED Core & Shell certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its sustainable design.

The two-story, 287,970-square-foot campus received high marks for its under-floor air and cabling systems, abundant natural light and amenities including a fitness center. Tenants include Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Connecticut and Burns & McDonnell Engineering.

 Pearce Names Top Producers

Carl Russell of the H. Pearce Real Estate/George J. Smith office in Milford has been named the 2012 top commercial agent for Pearce Real Estate. Other commercial agents inducted into Pearce’s 2012 Chairman’s Circle include Peter Brown, Joel Galvin, Rich Guralnick and Chris Nolan of the North Haven office and John Bergin of Pearce/George J. Smith Milford office. 

 

New Broker for Pearce

Richard Lombardo has joined H. Pearce Real Estate Co./George J. Smith as an associate broker in its Commercial Division in Milford. He comes from the UIL Corp. (parent of the United Illuminating Co. following a 35-year career in marketing and sales. A certified energy manager, lighting efficiency professional and carbon reduction manager,  Lombardo has assisted design professionals and customers in evaluating energy efficient options in commercial buildings.

 

 SALES

 

Hamden Land Sale

HAMDEN –– Acquisition Holdings, LLC has purchased 2.44 acres of land at 1717 Dixwell Avenue for $720,000 at an online auction. The Proto Group represented the buyer. Ken Ginsberg of NAI Elite represented the seller, Hamden Pond LLC. 

 

Historic Apartments Sold

HARTFORD –– Clemens Place Apartments, a 597-unit multifamily complex at 16 Owen Street, has been sold for $29.5 million.

Institutional Property Advisors (IPA), a New Haven-based multifamily brokerage division of Marcus & Millichap, brokered the sale of the 1920s-style community, which is sited on a 17-acre site with two commercial spaces in 42 renovated buildings. Thirty-one of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

IPA executive directors Steve Witten and Victor Nolletti advised the seller, Intown West Associates Limited Partnership and Westtown, LLC. The buyer is UOB Eagle Rock Multifamily Property Fund LP.

Witten says the complex is “the largest historic housing rehabilitation development in New England.”

 

LEASES

 

 Where There’s Smoke

NEW HAVEN –– Khawaja Sheraz has leased 1,364 square feet at 118 Grand Avenue for Smoker's Market 2, a convenience store. Kristin Geenty of the Geenty Group, Realtors, represented the tenant. Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group represented the landlord, Three Brothers, LLC.

 

Ecuadorean Consulate Re-Ups…

NEW HAVEN –– The Consulado de Equador has renewed its five-year option for 4,400 square feet at One Church Street. Coldwell Banker represented the tenant. The Proto Group represented the landlord, One Church Street Associates.

 

...And So Does Yale

NEW HAVEN –– Yale University extended its lease for five years for 11,065 square feet at One Church Street for its School of Medicine C.O.R.E. program. The Proto Group represented the landlord. Yale did not use a broker.

 

Let the Sunlight In

NEW HAVEN –– Sunlight Solar has relocated from Milford to 90 Hamilton Street, signing a one-year lease for approximately 5,000 square feet. Dan Britton found the space, after a two-year search, on Craigslist.com, and negotiated a deal with the landlord, Christopher Syvertsen of Lincraft Contracting & Development Inc. “I tried working with brokers numerous times,” Britton says.

 

Drywaller to No. Haven

NORTH HAVEN –– D. Snead Drywall, LLC has leased 4,000 square feet at 459B Washington Avenue. Marty Ruff of Levey Miller Maretz represented both the tenant and landlord, Mais Realty LLC.

 

Steaking a Claim in Orange

ORANGE ­­–– Prime 16 Tap House & Burgers has leased 5,000 square feet at 464 Boston Post Road for its second location. Mike Richetelli and Fred Messore of Colonial Properties were the sole brokers. The landlord is Leveraged Equities, LTD. Most recently occupied by Mark Barry’s, the space is being renovated for a May 1, 2013 opening.

 

 Doubling Down in Rocky Hill

ROCKY HILL ––  NIC Systems has expanded from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet at 51 Belamose Avenue with the recent lease of an adjacent 5,000 square feet. The Proto Group represented the tenant. Cushman and Wakefield represented the landlord, Hampshire Properties.

 

Sign of the Times

WATERBURY ––American Sign of New Haven has leased  1,423 square feet at the CVS/Aldi anchored plaza at 464 Reidville Drive for a new retail store. The Proto Group was the sole broker. The landlord is 500 Monroe Turnpike Associates.

 

 The housing market recovery that never quite got off the ground may at last be gaining traction

 

It’s common knowledge that the past few years have seen a stalled residential real estate market, a leading victim of the down economy.

So, how is the industry faring now?

Well, it’s coming around — sort of.

“The national real estate market is clearly in a period of recovery, with increasing demand and rising prices in most parts of the country,” says Barbara Pearce, president and CEO of H. Pearce Co. Realtors. The 55-year-old, North Haven-headquartered company has more than 140 real estate agents in the greater New Haven and Shoreline areas.

What they and Pearce are seeing is that while the national climate is improving, Connecticut is “lagging behind,” as Pearce notes. She points out that the Nutmeg State ranks No. 46 out of 50 for the indicators on which the national ranking is based.

The numbers support this poor performance, with the average list price dropping for most municipalities in the region between 2011 to 2012, according to figures compiled by Pearce. In Bethany, for example, the average list price for residential homes, condominiums and multi-family units dropped from $397,603 in 2011 to $372,918 in 2012. In Guilford the decline was from $581,100 to $519,863. West Haven’s drop was from $191,843 to $175,413.

Overall, the average sale price in Connecticut dropped from $326,818 in 2011 to $324,001 in 2012.

However, these figures are tempered by the difference between average sale price in 2011 compared with 2012 in a number of municipalities. In Bethany, the average sale price in 2011 was $315,271. That rose to $347,371 in 2012, an increase of 10.2 percent. Westbrook also experienced a positive change, from $322,151 in 2011 to $359,184 in 2012, or 11.5 percent. And the average sale price in Deep River jumped an impressive 21.1 percent between 2011 and 2012, from $258,755 to $313,278. The figures for Essex are even more impressive, with the $425,174 average sale price in 2011 increasing to $540,314 in 2012 — a 27.1-percent boost.

The original sales-to-listing-price ratio increased slightly from 2011 to 2012, from 89.1 percent to 89.3 percent. And the market speed picked up. In 2011 2,772 units were sold within 90 days. That rose to 3,328 units sold within 90 days in 2012.

Such action, while Connecticut falls behind the nation as a whole regarding its real estate transactions, leads Pearce to observe, “But it is also changing.”

Pearce, who practiced law before starting to work for the company her father started, is well positioned to assess and summarize market trends. She notes, for example, that buying bidding has picked up, an sign of market improvement.

“While prices in greater New Haven are still falling slightly, we have seen the beginnings of a seller’s market even here, with multiple offers becoming commonplace on new and well-priced listings,” says Pearce.

There’s also somewhat of a silver lining in the latest figures, Pearce states in her Market Watch report for the fourth quarter of 2012.

In Connecticut, she says, “Things never got as bad, prices never went down as far, and therefore they are not popping back up as quickly. We still have spots where listings are hard to come by, but by and large there is a good choice for buyers in most areas.”

Realtor Michael Barbaro, of New Haven-based Huntsman, Meade & Partners Compass Realty, says the market is excellent for buyers now.

“I’m actually perplexed as to why it’s taken so long to improve. It’s a very unique phenomenon,” he says. “You have historically low interest rates and lower-than-average housing prices.”

Barbaro, who serves on the executive committee of the Connecticut Association of Realtors and serves as spokesperson for the Greater New Haven Association of Realtors, says more people should take advantage of what he views as optimal conditions for homebuyers.

“There’s never been a greater time to buy a home than there is right now,” he says.

In the above-mentioned market report, Pearce pinpoints interest rates and other variables that could affect the market as 2013 progresses.

“Interest rates are still low — very low — and prices are more flexible than usual,” she writes. “People who are moving have been able to sell their homes where they came from, and, with the lowest apartment vacancy rate in the country, the New Haven area is a tough place to land a good rental. All those things cause sales.

“In addition, the uncertainty in Washington has not gone away, but the immediate crisis has been averted,” adds Pearce. “Some nervousness still exists, which makes the stock market dicier than usual, and that also helps real estate as an alternative investment. We are between two strong markets — Boston and New York — so that should help us as well.”

 Another positive harbinger is that sales in every pricing category from $300,000 up rose between 2011 and 2012, according to data collected by Pearce. In 2011 there were 1,781 sales of homes priced between $300,000 and $499,999 in Connecticut. In 2012 that went up to 1,827, and increase of 2.6 percent. Sales of homes in the $500,000 to 799,999 category rose 5.8 percent, from 466 in 2011 to 493 in 2012. There were 142 sales of houses costing between $800,000 and $999,999 in 2011, and in 2012 sales in this category numbered 150 – up 5.6 percent. Sixty-six homes in $1 million and above category soled in 2011, compared with 79 in 2012, a 19.7 percent increase.

Overall, there were 4,451 unit sales totaling $1.45 billon in Connecticut in 2011. That rose to 5,235 unit sales totaling $1.54 billion in 2012.

The demand in Connecticut is not so much for newly built homes, says Pearce. That could be a result of predetermined parameters.

While “New homes are big in many parts of the country,” she says, “we tend to be less focused on new construction here, because we have little to no population growth and even less open land.”

What buyers are looking for in the homes they purchase is quality.

“In existing homes, the demand is for good condition, good location and a good deal,” explains Pearce.

The real estate online monitoring site Trulia.com shows a range of average listing prices for homes in the New Haven area for the week ended March 13. Perhaps surprisingly, homes in the downtown area averaged $249,862, on the low end. Higher average listing prices for that week could be seen in sections such as Westville ($315,818), East Rock ($431,415) and Prospect Hill ($521,804). These, along with downtown and the East Shore area ($220, 766 average listing price) were among the more popular neighborhoods in which to purchase homes, according to Trulia.com.

In the past few years Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital have encouraged employees to purchase their first home within the region with the help of programs that offer financial assistance. This helps build stronger and more stable neighborhoods, enhancing communities, say advocates. It also helps push up sales near work places.

Barbaro has had buyers who have been greatly assisted by such programs.

“For some people we are definitely seeing that,” he says, adding, “I’m seeing younger couples out there in the market.”

And they’re able the purchase the kind of property they’re seeking, he adds.

“At this point, because interest rates are low, I don’t think people have to settle,” Barbaro says.

 “First-time homebuyers are still driving the market, so the lower the price the higher the demand,” says Pearce. “While we have inventory for seven to nine months, which is three times most national markets, homes over $1 million pull that up, so turnover is obviously faster in the lesser price ranges.”

Homeowners are aided by low mortgage rates, Pearce agrees.

“Mortgage rates are still historically low, although 40 percent of people buying in Connecticut now pay cash,” she says. “First-time buyers rarely do, and down payments are an issue, as are appraisals. This always happens in improving markets, since appraisals are based on closings and therefore lag the market.”

State government has accelerated its push to make public transportation improvements a priority throughout the state, saying that it is among the elements that will draw and keep permanent residents and businesses. While access to public transportation is important to some homebuyers, it holds less significance for renters, says Pearce.

“Public transportation is a plus, but less important than with rentals,” says Pearce. “The rental market is still incredibly strong, and prices have gone up dramatically at the high end, during a period when home prices have declined.”

What’s generating inquiries in the New Haven area now? Condos, says Pearce, while Barbaro adds that “Condos are great starter homes.”

Currently, condominium properties are “seeing more activity and interest,” according to Pearce. “In downtown New Haven condos are very limited, and have always actually outperformed the single-home market, so Whitney Grove Square and Audubon Court are exceptions to the general rule.”

According to Pearce, the average final list price for condos in New Haven in 2012 was $194,826, while average sale price was $164,585. The average closing period was 58 days.

A notable observation is that in Orange, condos actually sold for more than the $373,848 average list price. The average sale price for the town in 2012 was $380,172, which was 104.5 percent of the final list, according to figures supplied by Pearce.

 

Bulls outweigh bears in charting Elm City’s commercial prospects

 

 There is more than enough doomsday rabble-rousing going around the nation these days, so one can hardly be blamed for feeling less than confident about the future.

New Haven has reached its 375-year milestone, but looking ahead another quarter century might be a daunting task in this climate. Nevertheless, many in the business community are less than worried, and by all accounts find that the region has a good future ahead of it.

New Haven’s central business district is doing well when it comes to real estate development, especially if as illustrated by the relatively low vacancy rate of storefronts downtown.

Chris Ortwein is business-center manager for the Town Green Special Services District. She notes that, given the number of projects in the pipeline for the short term, some areas of the city center may look vastly different within a decade. She points specifically to the Route 34 project, the establishment of 100 College Street, and the planned eventual location of LiveWorkPlay on the former New Haven Coliseum site.

“New Haven is in a great position at this point,” asserts Ortwein. “We’re going to be reconnecting a city; there is a whole generation that probably doesn’t know what it was like to have one downtown before [the Route 34 connector] split that. To re-grow downtown will be wonderful.”

Ortwein acknowledges that it remains to be seen what impact the 100 College building will have on economic development, “but we hope it will be the first of several buildings on that site,” she says. “To be downtown and have that availability of acreage to build on is a wonderful asset. It will change the economy in a way that hasn’t happened for a while. When we come to our 400th anniversary, the town will look different.”

The 100 College Street project is an 11-story biomedical lab research and office building adjacent to the Route 34 connector. Cheshire-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals will be the building's first tenant, relocating its headquarters to the Elm City.

Lou Proto, principal of commercial real estate firm the Proto Group,may not have a crystal ball to look into the future, but similarly agrees the city and the region is well positioned.

“I think there will be a lot of changes in the city in the next couple years,” Proto says. “The commercial sector has been very stable, picking up and increasing all the time, and the city has been good to work with.”

Jeff Dow of Dow Realty also looks forward to the promise of the 100 College building, and sees a bright future ahead, particularly because of Yale University and the Yale-New Haven Hospital. He also says the city is “ahead of the curve” with its success in the apartment market and livability, but officials need to be mindful of taxes and fees that could make business owners look elsewhere.

“The city needs to make smart decisions to encourage development and really has to try to be business-friendly and lower the cost of doing business,” says Dow. “They have already done a lot that — the city had a big hand in getting 100 College Street — and they need to continue to do that in other areas. Then the city will thrive.”

Dow also says the city has done much to improve public safety, but it must do more since he regularly hears concerns — many based simply on perception — from potential businesses owners and residents who may be afraid to venture into the city or downtown.

 

The Elm City already has a vibrant arts scene, and if its cultural momentum can be maintained, the next quarter century could be just as exciting, if not more so.

Cindy Clair, executive director of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, says the arts community is “remarkable” for a city this size.

“I believe the arts have the potential to grow, to evolve and engage new and wider audiences in ways we can’t even imagine,” she says. “For the arts to thrive, we’ll need strong and steady financial support to sustain the cultural anchors and provide the kind of risk capital that allows them to experiment. And we’ll need affordable spaces where emerging arts groups can perform and artists can create.”

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas has been a virtually quintessential part of early summer in the Elm City since its founding in 1996. Mary Lou Aleskie’s first festival as executive director took place in 2006. By her account, New Haven has had a strong and resilient arts scene — anchored by Tony Award-winning theaters (the Shubert’s historic role as "Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits”) and one of the oldest symphonies (the 119-year-old New Haven Symphony Orchestra) in the country — that has benefited from its modest size to the extent that it could be a model city for incubating new art forms as technology and media evolve.

“I think the scale of New Haven — in terms of population, scale of the buildings, the intimacy with which we live — is the cornerstone dynamic that makes it a great incubator for new ideas and new things,” Aleskie says. “As high-speed trains continue to advance and our own individual obsession with technology pulls us further from each other, places like New Haven that are built on its humanity, given its size and geography, will be a tremendous asset. Whatever’s in the DNA of New Haven will create the new models for the future.”

Aleskie adds that financial means are key as well, and based on experience with the festival, she knows that a little extra money can go a long way toward making cultural endeavors more successful.

The manufacturing industry also faces challenges but thee is optimism about its future here, according to Jack Crane, director of growth and innovation services for the Connecticut State Technology Extension Program (ConnSTEP).

“The New Haven manufacturing scene has a significant chemicals component, some metals, machining, forming and medical devices, so it’s a mixed bag,” Crane says. “It’s going to grow because people have recognized the fact that it’s an important ingredient in job creation and innovative thinking.”

Crane says most of Connecticut’s manufacturing lies in exacting, precision manufacturing, while high-volume output mostly has migrated overseas. The challenge he finds is in increasing technical demands and quality of labor while getting enough returns to reinvest with.

“If you can’t reinvest in people, equipment and new technology, you’ll be in a position that really hurts you. Hopefully the support at the state level will stay,” he says. “If we can get over that we’ll have a bright future because we are seeing production come back.”

He says the manufacturing of medical devices shows promise because he sees significant growth in the health-care industry.

Health care is one area the New Haven region has well covered already thanks in no small part to Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale School of Medicine. Bruce Koeppen, MD has been named founding dean of Quinnipiac University’s medical school, which will welcome its first class this August. He points out that with three medical schools in the state (including Yale’s and Quinnipiac’s locally) along with a solid record and infrastructure, the outlook for the region’s health-care industry is good.

The real challenge he finds is in establishing what he sees as a changing health-care model that will move toward “team medicine,” rather than a model that places the physician at the center of the universe.

“The old paradigm was that the physician was the captain of the ship, but the news is that the health-care team is analogous to a NASCAR pit crew, where you’ve got people with a broad range of expertise all coming together to take care of the patient,” Koeppen explains. “It’s a team effort.”

Koeppen says it’s important to start teaching the doctors of tomorrow today to work in the new paradigm.

“They need to learn who their colleagues are, so they can seamlessly become members of these teams. Change is always difficult — it’s a cultural change. Let’s start that during the medical education process,” he says.

 

Vin Petrini, senior vice president of public affairs for Yale-New Haven Hospital, says that team mentality is already a reality at his institution. With New Haven being “an epicenter for medical services” for the whole state, Petrini finds the biggest struggle for the future to be keeping up with a changing economic landscape and quality expectations.

“The hospital and the providers need to figure out a way to deliver high-quality care in a much more cost-effective manner,” he says. “We also need to start thinking more holistically — shifting from the sick-care system to a well-care system, where we treat the patient and family before, during and after hospitalization — to monitor and intervene at the right times to prevent illness. I think that’s where the hospital and health care is leaning.”

He adds that the hospital will see more consumer-driven care as well, especially as patients become better educated on their options.

As an extension of the health-care industry, the region’s bioscience sector is looking good with plenty of startups and major state initiatives such as the Innovation Ecosystem. Frank Marco is a partner at the New Haven law firm of Wiggin & Dana, who represents clients in the bioscience and technology sectors.

“Look at the investment China is making in bioscience,” he says. “It’s being viewed as an area of growth, the curing and investigation of diseases, and there is a groundswell of new technologies. In Connecticut, we have a critical mass of resources.

“New Haven is incredibly well positioned, given Yale and the intellectual property generated there, and a number of pharmaceutical companies, so there’s a large pool of talent,” Marco adds, noting that funding will be critical going forward.

“Venture capitalists have largely moved away from early-stage bioscience companies because it can take up to hundreds of millions of dollars to get a company along,” he explains.

Harry Penner, chairman of New Haven-based bioscience firm Affinimark Technologies, whose lead product detects cerebrospinal fluid leaks in patients, likewise says the consistency and availability of funding will play a large role, particularly for startups.

“There is recognition among startups that there needs to be a good amount of bootstrapping before getting series A financing,” he says. “There is a very important role for seed financing that the state can play, and then of course a lot of the science can be incubated within the university system, which can be helpful.”

Likewise Penner says its encouraging that the state has launched initiatives and invested in research institutions.

“When you’re looking over the hill you can only see so far,” he notes. “This is a sector that is going to become increasingly important as we look at the aging population and the myriad scientific discoveries coming out of our major institutions.

“We have a good base,” Penner says. “Are we ever going to be Cambridge? San Francisco? I doubt it — but there is a very good place for New Haven in that mix.”

 HARTFORD –– Most members of the Connecticut/Western Massachusetts chapter of SIOR believe market conditions stabilized during the second half of 2012 and are likely to improve in 2013.

Nearly all of the group’s 50 members responded to its latest poll, covering July 2012 to December 2012.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said market conditions stabilized during the second half of 2012, while 36 percent said they improved. Fifty-eight percent were optimistic about 2013, 32 percent expected no change and ten percent predicted declines.

Members were less sanguine about lease rates during 2013. Eighty-eight percent of respondents expect industrial rates to remain the same; 12 percent predict increases. Ninety-three percent believe office lease rates won’t change and seven percent expect declines.

Forty-seven percent of respondents expect industrial vacancy rates to hold steady during 2013, while 41 percent anticipate decreases and 12 percent expect increases.

Fifty seven percent of respondents believe office vacancies will remain largely unchanged, 36 percent expect decreases and nine percent predict increases.

Most respondents believe prices have stabilized for industrial properties (70 percent) and for office properties (72 percent). They also think improvements in market conditions during 2013, however, will be “slight and slow,” due to high employment and forthcoming state and federal tax hikes, among other factors.

 EAST HAVEN –– Shop Rite will be the new anchor store for the FoxHaven Plaza at 713-745 Foxon Road.

Shoprite/Wakefern has signed a long-term lease for 60,000 square feet formerly occupied by A&P and Big Y.

H. Pearce Commercial brokered the deal.

Rich Guralnick and Chris Nolan of Pearce’s North Haven office represented the Pyramid Construction Group, which owns FoxHaven Plaza. DeForest Smith and John Bergin of Pearce/George J. Smith Commercial in Milford represented the tenant.

Smith said the 20-year lease included options extending as long as 75 years, and the store should open within six months after an extensive upgrades to the property. Improvements include a new building façade and a redesigned parking lot with new lighting.

“It’s nice for the town of East Haven because it takes a non- productive asset and now it’s a tax-paying asset,” Smith said.

Ocean State Job Lot and Payhalf are among current tenants at the 125,000-square-foot shopping center, which has around 25,000 feet of vacant space.

Shop Rite is a registered trademark of Wakefern Corp. a retailer-owned cooperative with more than 220 supermarkets in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. The East Haven store will be the fifth Shop Rite in the state, and will be owned and operated by the Garafalo family of Milford, which operates all the other stores — in Milford, Stratford, West Haven and Hamden.

 WATERBURY –– Konover Commercial Corp. has won a new five-year contract from the state Department of Administrative Services to manage three office buildings with parking garages. Two are in Waterbury, at 55 West Main Street and 395 West Main Street. The third is 

at 59 Field Street in Torrington.

 SALES

 

Farrel Complex Fetches $2M

ANSONIA –– Washington Management, LLC has purchased the 398,107 square foot Farrel Corp. complex at 25 Main Street for $1.9 million. Alan Fischer of Fischer Real Estate represented the seller, Ansonia Real Estate Holdings, LLC. Vance Taylor of the Commercial Real Estate Group represented the buyer, which plans to transform the ten-acre downtown site with ten buildings into a mixed-use development with retail, offices and condominiums.

 

Take It to the Bank

NEW HAVEN –– An 11,306-square-foot brick building at 215 Church Street has been sold for $1.9 million. The Bank of Southern Connecticut currently leases the space for its main branch and corporate offices. Frank Micali of Capitalize 360 Group LLC represented the buyer, Netz-215 Church. Stephen Press of Press/Cuozzo represented the seller, 215 Church Street, LLC.

 

LEASES

From Restaurant to Retail

CHESHIRE –– FoodWorks has leased 5,800 square feet at 959 South Main Street, replacing a Chinese restaurant that closed its doors over two years ago.

“I just kept trying to rent it to a restaurant,” says Lorraine Tartaglia, a principal with Tartaglia Commercial Properties of Monroe, which owns the 60,000-square-foot shopping center where FoodWorks will be opening its fourth Connecticut store. “It was too big, and I eventually decided to turn it into retail."

Tartaglia handled the negotiations between the landlord, Cheshire ILMR LLC, and FoodWorks, which is one of her tenants at Clock Tower Square in Monroe, another of the 20 shopping centers her company owns in Connecticut.   

Tartaglia has seen an uptick in retail renting as of late.

“We signed eight leases in the last four months,” she reports.

Four leases were at 835 Wolcott Street, Waterbury, where new tenants include AAA, leasing 2,000 square feet and Beltone, leasing 900 square feet. Les Frankoff of Prudential represented AAA.

Another deal was at 477 Main Street, Monroe, where Nuvita Frozen Yogurt signed a five-year lease for 2,486 square feet for its fourth Connecticut store. Jeff Kintzer of Royal Properties represented the tenant.

 

Crunch Time in Orange

ORANGE –– Crunch Fitness has signed a 15-year lease with two five-year options for 28,000 square feet at 440 Boston Post Road, a vacant space since Office Max departed in 2006. Frank Bowser of PPG Properties was sole broker in the transaction. The landlord is RPAI America.

“We’re building out the fitness center, with a complete demolition of the interior and up to $1 million in renovations,” says PPG CEO Bryan Bowser. “What’s nice is we take it from the minute that we have the idea that a space has got to be leased, we negotiate and lock up the lease, go through permitting for the town, build it out and at the end of the day hand them the key. We also manage the property.

“We’re looking at an early May [2013] opening,” Bowser adds.

In December 2012, PPG brokered a similar deal for 22,000 square feet for a Crunch Fitness gym at 1100 Barnum Avenue in Stratford.

“We will be doing several other ones, targeting Stamford, Danbury and other areas,” Bowser explains.

Over the past couple of years PPG has filled vacant storefronts, many on the Boston Post Road in Orange, with businesses including Hibachi Grill and Jake’s Wayback Burgers.

“We concentrate on large boxes and small,” Bowser says. “Instead of taking clients from across the street we go out of the state and find companies looking to expand in Connecticut.”

In October, two days after Hurricane Sandy, PPG brokered a 4,100-square-foot lease deal for a State Farm disaster claims center in Orange, at 477 Boston Post Road.

 

Celldex Leases in Branford

BRANFORD –– Celldex Therapeutics Inc. has leased 6,600 square feet at 688 East Main Street. Cameron Duffy of Jones Lang LaSalle represented the tenant. Kristin Geenty of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the landlord, Parish Farm Partners, LLC. 

 

Broker to Biz Park

BRANFORD –– Investment One Equity Brokers, LLC has leased 1,040 square feet at 9 Business Park Drive. Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the landlord, Bellaire Properties, LLC.  Edward Shattuck of Greater New Haven Realty represented the tenant.

 

Not Bailing on E. Haven

EAST HAVEN –– New England Bail Bonds, LLC has leased 650 square feet at 57 High Street. Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group, Realtors was sole broker in the transaction. The landlords are Gury and Felicia Grippo.

 

Security Firm Pens 5-Year Lease

HAMDEN –– Ducibella Venter & Santoro has signed a five-year lease for 3,400 square feet at 1004 Sherman Avenue. Joel Nesson of Press/Cuozzo Commercial Services was sole broker in the deal, representing the security consulting and engineering firm and the landlord, WTE 1020 Sherman LLC.

 

Rocking Out in Madison

MADISON ­­–– The School of Rock has leased 3,000 square feet at 845 Boston Post Road. Steve Inglese and Rob Montesi of the New Haven Group represented the tenant. Frank Hird of OR& L Commercial represented the landlord, David Realty, LLC.

 

Digitech to Research Drive

MILFORD –– Digitech Imaging Solutions, LLC has leased 800 square feet at 249 Research Drive. Scott Zakos of Vidal Wettenstein represented Digitech. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the landlord, D’Amato Investments, LLC.

 

Ten-Year Deal for Builder

NORTH HAVEN — A-Plus Building Supply, LLC has signed a ten-year lease valued at $700,000 for 171 McDermott Road. The property includes a 9,000-square-foot industrial building and three acres of parking and outside storage area. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz Commercial Real Estate Services was the sole broker. The landlords are Anthony DePaola and Vincent DePaola.

 

Tapped Out on Rt. 1

ORANGE –– Prime 16 Tap House & Burgers has leased 5,000 square feet at 464 Boston Post Road. Mike Richetelli and Fred A. Messore of Colonial Properties were the sole brokers. The landlord is Leveraged Equities, LTD.

 

 NORTH HAVEN –– Frank Hird has high hopes for the rebirth of the 165-acre former Pratt & Whitney property at 409-415 Washington Avenue.

 

“There’s going to be very significant activity there over the next five years,” predicts Hird, vice president of OR& L Commercial, which has the exclusive listing for the site.

 

OR&L recently announced plan to create a “NewConn Intermodal Park” on the site, and is marketing the property as “the largest industrial development site” in southern Connecticut. The outdated 1.3-million-square-foot Pratt & Whitney building will be razed, and Hird expects demolition work to begin in the next month or so.

 

“It’s a fantastic site, with a four-lane road going in and out, and easy access to I-91 and the Wilbur Cross parkway,” Hird says. “We could put a rail siding in. It has heavy power available, city water, city sewer and there is a very large high-pressure gas line on the property.”

 

Hird became interested in the site last summer, while seeking space to construct a building for a client. But the owners, 409-451 Washington Ave. Partners, “didn’t want to sell what amounted to a small lot,” Hird recalls. “Being a broker, I did the natural follow-up question: ‘Well, what are you doing with the property?’ It really was set up for a single user and just doesn’t work for the requirements of today’s marketplace. We advised them to demolish the building, and they gave us the listing.”

 

The property is generating “significant interest,” Hird reports, “from a wide variety of companies looking for large modern buildings that would include office, warehouse distribution and potentially any kind of manufacturing.

 

“We’ve developed a wide variety of plans, and we can accommodate anything from 100,000 to over one million square feet,” he adds.  “We’ll deliver what the market demands. Even if they aren’t LEED buildings, they will be more efficient because modern building techniques are so far advanced.”

 

OR&L many not necessarily construct the buildings, Hird says, because the owners could decide to sell lots to buyers bringing in their own builders.

 

Hird also is bullish about other defunct manufacturing properties he’s marketing. “The former 650,000-square-foot Pratt & Whitney building (at 75 Aircraft Road) in Southington, is getting good activity,” he says. “So is the former ThermoSpas (a 140,000-square-foot structure at 155 East Street in Wallingford featuring 24-foot clear ceiling heights  and 80-column spacing).

“It has got me thinking,” Hird concludes, that “this is going to be a

 WALLINGFORD –– Citing four consecutive quarters of increased sales deposits last year, Candace Adams, CEO and president of Prudential Connecticut Realty, sees “positive signs” for the Connecticut residential market. “Based on our fourth quarter report [2012] findings, sales should continue to recover [in 2013], with prices leveling off and stabilizing,” Adams reports. The company’s fourth-quarter market report also found more Connecticut residents choosing to buy rather than rent than in the previous three years, and that record low interest rates and low prices would gradually increase sales of existing homes and new housing permits “through 2013 and beyond.”

 BOSTON — There’s more evidence of recovery in the residential market. According to a new Warren Group report, sales of single family homes in Connecticut rose 14.8 percent to 24,276 in 2012, compared with 21,141 in 2011. In addition, 2012 was the best year since 2009, when there were 24,401 sales, according to the Warren Group.

 SALES

 

 

 

New Home for Olde Ways

 

HAMDEN –– Olde Ways, LLC has purchased an 18,5000-square-foot industrial building at 1050 Sherman Avenue for $575.000. Stephen Press and Joel Nesson of Press/Cuozzo represented the seller, LILEE Association, LLC, while Press procured the buyer.

 

 

 

$72 Million Milford Deal

 

MILFORD –– Two portfolios totaling 335 multifamily units and 47,6000 square feet have been purchased for $72.4 million.

 

Victor Nolletti and Steve Witten of Institutional Property Advisors (IPA), a multifamily brokerage division of Marcus & Millichap, arranged the sales to Perpetual Real Estate Partners, LP and Wolff Enterprises II, LLC.

 

Perpetual Real Estate Partners LP bought Spinnaker Wharf, Spinnaker Walk and Spinnaker Square — a portfolio overlooking Milford Harbor with 107 rental units and 38,963 square feet of retail/commercial space in downtown Milford –– for $31,800,138. “This is irreplaceable real estate,” Witten said in a statement.

 

Wolf Enterprises paid $40,603,227 for Spinnaker Brook, Spinnaker Chase, Spinnaker Crest, Spinnaker Green, Spinnaker Hunt and Spinnaker Station –– a portfolio with 228 multifamily units and 8,731 square feet of commercial space near the Milford train station. “These assets are poised to provide excellent returns for their respective investors,” Nolletti said.

 

 

 

Middletown Apts. Fetch $27M

 

MIDDLETOWN –– Windshire Terrace, an 11-building property with 226 apartments on 15 acres at 72 Forest Glen Circle, has been sold for $27 million. The buyer, Fairfield Residential Co, was self-represented. CB Richard Ellis represented the seller, New Boston Fund.

 

 

 

One In, One Out in Milford

 

MILFORD –– KBC Electronics Inc. has purchased an 8,044-square-foot industrial building at 273 Pepes Farm Road for $630,000. KBC, which makes products for the automotive, medical, military and residential markets, acquired the property from Baron Consulting. Baron will move to 181 Research Drive, where it recently signed a lease for 3,200 square feet. The landlord is D’Amato Investments. Baron’s services include chemical analysis, and environmental, biochemical, biotechnical and industrial hygiene testing.

 

Angel Commercial was the sole broker in the purchase and lease negotiations. “The needs and requirements of KBC Electronics and Baron Consulting were ideally matched in terms of property specifications and timings,” said company president Jon Angel.

 

 

 

Pricy N.H. Parking Garage

 

NEW HAVEN –– A five-acre parking and repair facility with an 8,000-square-foot garage at 164-170 Middletown Avenue has been sold for $1,850,000. The buyer is 170 Middletown Ave., LLC. The sellers were Salvatore and Louis DeLucia. Marty Ruff of Levey Miller Maretz was the sole broker in the transaction.

 

 

 

APT Buys in No. Haven

 

NORTH HAVEN –– The APT Foundation has purchased a 10,145-square-foot building sited on 2.45 acres at 352 State Street for $1 million. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz represented the buyer. Ken Ginsberg of NAI Elite represented the seller, L&M Realty, LLC.

 

 

 

Some Assembly Required

 

STRATFORD ­­–– Cactus, LLC has purchased an 11,181-square-foot building at 300 Benton Street for $760,000. The seller was 300 Benton Street Associates, LLC. Cactus will use some 4,500 square feet for light assembly and storage; the remainder of the building is leased to long-term tenants. Angel Commercial represented both parties in the deal.

 

 

 

 

 

LEASES

 

 

 

Guralnick Legend Grows

 

 

BRANFORD –– Research & Design Innovations LLC has signed a five-year lease for 7,350 feet at 33 Business Place Drive. Rich Gualnick of H. Pearce Commercial was sole broker in the transaction. The landlord is Business 2 Park Realty.

 

 

 

Things Cooking for Caterer

 

BRANFORD –– Catering By Christine has inked a two-year lease for 1,850 square feet at 906 West Main Street. Brita McGee of Colonial Properties was the sole broker. The landlords are Bruno and Angela Ceniccola.

 

 

 

Woodworker Relocates

 

MILFORD –– Delphis Woodworks, LLC has leased 800 square feet at 233 Research Drive. Geenty Group Senior Vice President Bill Clark was sole agent in the deal. The landlord is D’Amato Investments.

 

 

 

Plantscaper’s Biz Blooming

 

MILFORD –– Connecticut Plantscaping has leased 800 square feet at 225 Research Drive for storing and distributing indoor plants.

 

The Geenty Group’s Bill Clark represented the landlord, D'Amato Investments, LLC. Noreen Daniells of Coldwell Banker represented the tenant.

 

 

 

From Bagels to Braciola

 

MILFORD –– Piada Italian Kitchen has penned a five-year lease for 2,600 square feet at 1590 Boston Post Road, formerly occupied by Village Bagels. Brita McGee of Colonial Properties was the sole broker. The landlord is Milford Post Associates, LLC.

 

 

 

Milford Industrial Lease

 

MILFORD –– American Custom, LLC has leased approximately 3,000 square feet of industrial space at 43 Eastern Steel Road. Angel Commercial represented the tenant and the landlord, Connors Properties, LLC.

 

 

 

Marlin Biz Ctr. Lures Non-Profit

 

NEW HAVEN –– Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis Inc. has signed an 11-year lease for 10,500 square feet at the Marlin Business Center, 235 Nicoll Street. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz represented the tenant. Richard Lee of OR&L Commercial, represented the landlord, 85 Willow Street NH, LLC.

 

 

 

New Papa John’s in Orange

 

ORANGE – Papa John's Pizza has signed a five-year lease for 2,000 square feet at 112 Boston Post Road. Brita McGee of Colonial Properties represented the tenant. Tyler Lyman of RHYS represented the landlord, Post Hill Limited Partnership.

 

 

 

Firelite Lures New Tenant

 

ORANGE –– Mercury Medical has leased 900 square feet of office space for three years at the Firelite Shopping Center, 35 Old Tavern Road. Brita McGee of Colonial Properties represented the tenant. Royal Properties represented the landlord, Orange Firelite Properties LLC.

 

 

 

M&A Firm to Woodbridge

 

WOORDBRIDGE –– The Woodbridge Group, LLC has signed a lease at 1764 Litchfield Turnpike that includes the build-out of 3,000 square feet. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz represented the tenant, an international mergers and acquisitions firm. Steven Ingeles of the New Haven Group represented the owner, 1764 Litchfield Turnpike, LLC.

 

 

 

By Jove, It’s Bicuspids!

 

NEW HAVEN –– Dentist Shyam Desai has signed a six-year lease for 2,500 square feet at 883 Whalley Avenue. Steve Miller of Levey Miller Maretz represented the landlord, 883 Whalley Avenue, LLC.  John LaBella of ReMax Right Choice represented the tenant.

 

 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.

 

 HAMDEN — Stephen Press has received the 2012 Business Sale with Real Estate award from the Greater New Haven Association of Realtors’ Commercial Investment Division for the $715,000 sale of the former Brix Restaurant, a 5,342-square-foot freestanding building on 1.09 acres at 1721 Highland Avenue, Cheshire.

 

Press/Cuozzo’s Joel Nesson won the CID’s 2012 Industrial Sale of the Year award. He was the sole broker in the $3.8 million sale of Phoenix Research Park, a five-building, 104,000 square foot complex on 14 acres at 408-410 Sackett Point Road, North Haven.

 WATERBURY –– Commercial leasing posted a strong year in 2012, with the opening of 17 new businesses in the Brass City, creating more than 150 new jobs and, along with several expansions, adding more than $3 million to the city’s grand list in machinery and equipment. Realtor Tom Hill outlined the progress in a recent broadcast of his radio show on WATR (1320 AM). Five restaurants opened in downtown Waterbury last year, creating more than 60 jobs:  Politics Bar & Grill, Shamrock Bar & Grill, Dottie’s Diner, Meadow Street Grille, Jake’s Wayback Burger and Buffalo Wild Wings. Also, BADD Motorcycles, John Boyle Paint, the Dutch Flower Lady and Harbor Freight inked leases in Waterbury, creating at least 15 jobs.

Industrial leases included

 

• T&A Screw Machine Products took 65,014 square feet at 64 Avenue of Industry, creating 15 jobs.

 

• IMSWater Jet occupied 29,475 square feet at 562 Captain Neville Drive, creating seven jobs.

 

• Precision Dip Coating moved into 12,000 square feet at 176 Chase River Road, creating 12 jobs.

 

• Mountain Top Mushrooms expanded to 34,925 square feet in the Chase River Road Industrial Park at 200 Chase River Road.

 

• Unipharm Inc., leased 47,000 square feet in the Captain Neville Industrial Park at 75 Progress Lane, employing 23 people.

 

• Renewable Heat Products leased 36,975 square feet 55 Fulkerson Drive, creating five jobs.

 

• EEMax, the largest manufacturer of tankless water heaters in the U.S., took 36,000 square feet at 400 Captain Neville Drive, creating 30 jobs.

 SALES

 

Investor Buys Essex Property

ESSEX –– Investor Amy Smith Sroka has purchased a 4,087-square-foot multi-tenanted building at 35 Main Street for $725,000. Kevin and Kristin Geenty of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the seller, Bible Hill Associates, LLC. Kathy Schellen of William Pitt Sotheby’s in Essex represented the buyer.

 

West Gate Fetches $12.5M

NEW HAVEN –– Eagle Rock Advisors, LLC has bought  West Gate Town Homes, a 135-unit town home community at 35 Cooper Place, for $12.5 million. Jeffrey Dunne and Christopher Leonard of CBRE's New York Institutional Group, Gene Pride, vice president of CBRE's Private Capital Group and Mike Stone of CBRE's Hartford office represented the seller, Westgate HH LLC, an entity controlled by Capmark Financial Group Inc. The buyer, a Manhattan-based investment firm, was unrepresented.

 

Pride said more than 100 investors were interested in the property, and the more than a dozen who submitted bids came from four states and two countries outside the U.S. 

 

Dixwell Ave. Bldg. Sold

NEW HAVEN –– Robert Rodriguez has purchased a 1,404-square-foot building at 304 Dixwell Avenue for $95,000. Harold Kent of Levy Miller Maretz was sole broker in the transaction. The seller was Yogi Patel.

 

Med Office Buildings Sold

 

NEW HAVEN — Two Whitney Avenue medical office buildings have been purchased for a total of approximately $35 million. An 82,000-square-foot building at 2200 Whitney Avenue was sold by Whitney Medical Limited Partnership and acquired by 2200 Real Estate. A 52,000-square-foot building at 2080 Whitney Avenue was sold by Twenty Eighty Limited Partnership and bought by 2080 Real Estate, LLC. Both buildings have been fully occupied for 15 years. Matthew Keefe of HK Group was sole broker in the deal. 

 

 

Group Buys Section 8 Apts.

NEW HAVEN — Berger Apartments, a Section 8 elderly multifamily property at 135 Derby Avenue, has been purchased for $11.2 million. Institutional Property Advisors (IPA) arranged the cash sale. Steve Witten, Victor Nolletti, Paul Davis and Andy Daitch represented the seller, Aimco, and the buyer, Steele Property Holding, LLC. Originally built in 1900 as the Berger Brothers Corset Factory, the property was converted to 123 one-bedroom and 21 two-bedroom apartments in 1981.

 

Third Time’s the Charm

ROCKY HILL –– Indetail, LLC of Norwalk has purchased a 15,000-square-foot shopping plaza at 396 Cromwell Avenue for $4.5 million. Dan Garofalo of Reno Properties Group brokered the sale, representing both Indetail and the seller, Cromwell Avenue Shops, LLC of Newington.

The $300-per-square-foot sales price “represents the high benchmark for retail investment property sales in Rocky Hill and surrounding towns," according to Reno Properties. The multi-tenant shopping center is fully leased to Connecticut Bank & Trust, Rocky Hill Eye Associates, Velocity Urgent Care and Asian Bistro restaurant.

“I’ve sold the property three times,” Garofalo said. “The first time was in 2006, when Arch Restaurant and Banquet Center bought it from Developers Realty Corp. for $1.27 million. The second time was in 2010, when Cromwell Avenue Shops purchased it for $2.5 million.”

 

 

LEASES

 

 Branford Commercial Lease

BRANFORD — Husqvarna Construction Products has leased 6,500 square feet at 6 Sycamore Way for its new southern Connecticut services facility. Mark Duclos of Sentry Commercial represented the tenant. Robert Dow of Dow Realty represented the landlord, Gentile Development, LLC.

 

Hamden Plaza 100% Full

HAMDEN –– Hamden Plaza is fully occupied. Mark J. Brockwell, president of MJB Real Estate Services of Westport, the plaza’s exclusive agent and property manager, reported that Planet Fitness’ recent lease of 22,000 square feet completely filled the 260,000-square-foot plaza at 2100 Dixwell Avenue. MJB Vice President Dan Johnson was sole broker for the Planet Fitness lease as well as for other recent Hamden Plaza leases to Froyo World and Moe’s Southwest Restaurant.

 

Meriden Firm Expands

MERIDEN –– In a second expansion, Cable Management, LLC has leased 3,400 more square feet at Meriden Enterprise Center, 290 Pratt Street, for a total of 25,400 square feet at the location. Peter S. Shiue of Colliers International was sole broker in transaction. The landlord is 290 Pratt Street, LLC.

 

Energy Firm to State Street

NORTH HAVEN — Next Step Living has leased 4,500 square feet at 285 State Street. Mark Duclos of Sentry Commercial represented the tenant, a residential energy efficiencies and renewables company. Fred Petrella of Connecticut Realty Group represented the landlord, Elm City Industrial Properties.

 

Rocky Hill Lease

ROCKY HILL –– TRC Environmental Corp. has leased 3,348 square feet at 101 Corporate Place. Larry Levere of Sentry Commercial represented the landlord, CATIC Financial Inc. Shawn McMahon of Jones Lang LaSalle Americas represented the tenant.

 

Here Comes the Sun

NORTH HAVEN –– Apricus, a designer and manufacturer of solar hot water and hydronic heating products, has relocated its North American corporate headquarters from Branford to 370 State Street, a 36,000-square-foot multi-tenanted facility owned by the Hurley Group. Joel Nesson Press/Cuozzo Commercial Services was the sole broker.

 

Occupying Wall Street

MADISON –– Madison Dental LLC has leased 2,000 square feet, the entire first floor of 90 Wall Street, part of the new Clarity Commons Project.  Rich Guralnick of H. Pearce Commercial was the sole broker in the transaction. The landlord is S&R Holdings, LLC.

 

 NEW HAVEN –– Nationwide, investment in nonresidential construction declined 4.4 percent in the third quarter of 2012, despite 2.2 percent annualized growth in the U.S. economy, according to the Marcum Commercial Construction Index, a new quarterly index tracking the performance of the U.S. commercial construction industry.

Year-over-year national nonresidential construction spending rose  just 2.6 percent in the third quarter, compared to more than 19 percent growth in residential construction.

During 2012, sectors relying mainly on state and government capital funding declined most in spending, including water supply, down 12.7 percent, conservation and development, down 6.5 percent, education, down 3.2 percent and highway and street, down 2.2 percent.

Rapidly recovering sectors were lodging, up 25 percent, power, up 19.2 percent and transportation, up 11 percent.

In his report, Anirban Basu, chief construction economist for Marcum, a major accounting and advisory firm, attributed the slow recovery in nonresidential construction to tight credit, high vacancy rates and cautious investors, among other factors. He says the second half of 2013 could be “surprisingly good” for nonresidential construction if the White House and Congress manage not to tumble off the fiscal cliff, because of the large number of projects placed on hold during 2012.

 NEWS

 

Wareck D’Ostilio Opens in Milford

MILFORD –– Real Living Wareck D’Ostilio Real Estate has opened a second office at 174 Cherry Street.

“This move puts us closer to many of our existing customers and prospective clients in the Orange, Milford and upper Fairfield County,” co-owner/managing broker John Wareck said. “We anticipate the hiring of more agents to fill both offices and to accommodate clients as the company continues its record growth.”

 

Colonial’s Messore Earns GRI

ORANGE — Fred A. Messore, a Realtor with Colonial Properties, has earned the Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation, after completing at least 90 hours of classroom instruction in contract law, ethics, sales and marketing, finance, environment and health issues, technology and dispute resolutions and other topics.

 

PruCT Wins 2 HOBIs

WALLINGFORD — Prudential Connecticut Realty’s New Homes and Land Division has received two 2012 Home Building Industry (HOBI) Awards from the Home Builders & Remodelers Association (HBRA) of Connecticut.

 

Terence Beaty, Director of the New Homes & Land Division and Lynn Rival, senior graphic designer, won Best Community Sales Brochure and Best Community Website for the Sonoma Woods development. 

 

Spirit of the Season

Employees in the Guilford and Clinton offices of H. Pearce Co. raised $200 for the Guilford Food Bank during their annual Coco Café event on November 30. The employees served cookies and peppermint sticks to the crowd at the Guilford Tree Lighting ceremony.

 

 

SALES

 

Dixwell Ave. Commercial Bldg.

HAMDEN –– Andrew and Anthony Civitello have purchased a 3,700-square-foot building at 2839 Dixwell Avenue for $320,000, to house the corporate offices of their two businesses. Stephen Press of Press/Cuozzo Realtors represented the buyers. Kevin and Kristin Geenty of the Geenty Group, Realtors, represented the seller, the Charlotte A. Perry Marital Trust.

 

Middlesex Hospital Expands

MIDDLETOWN –– Middlesex Hospital has purchased two buildings at 117-121 Main Street Extension for $1.6 million. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate, LLC, represented the seller, the Carmelo J. Marino Trust. Coughlin Companies Management Services Inc. represented the hospital.

 

Liquor Store No More

MIDDLETOWN — A 4,336-square-foot building on 0.53 acres at 350 Main Street has been sold for $525,000. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate, LLC, represented the buyer, 350 Main Street Middletown, LLC and the seller, Joseph Savatore. The city of Middletown purchased Salvatore’s liquor license for $60,000 to prohibit the property’s future use as a liquor store.

 

Office/Warehouse Sold

OXFORD –– Local investment group 207 Oxford LLC has paid $360,000 for a 5,600-square-foot office and warehouse building on 1.7 acres at 207 Christian Street. Ed Godin Jr. of Matthews Commercial Properties represented the buyer. Bill Weirsman of Colonial Properties represented the seller, A&D Services.

 

M-Town Office Bldg. Bought

MIDDLETOWN — Edna Giardina Russo has purchased a 1,600-square-foot office building at 573 Newfield Street for $260,000 from 573 Newfield Street, LLC. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate, LLC represented the seller. Pam Rizy of Prudential Connecticut Realty represented the buyer.

 

Buying on Broad Street

MIDDLETOWN — Malik Mohammad has purchased 24 Broad Street for $157,500 from Melissa A. Didato. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate, LLC, represented both buyer and seller.

 

Research Park Fetches $3.8M

NORTH HAVEN –– The Phoenix Research Park at 408-410 Sackett Point Road has been sold for $3.8 million. Joel Nesson of Press/Cuozzo Commercial Services was the sole broker, representing the buyer, SK PT LLC, and the seller, Lake A LLC. Set on 14 acres, the park contains five lab and industrial buildings totaling 104,000 square feet.

 

No. Haven Complex Sold

NORTH HAVEN — ADM Ventures, LLC has purchased 375 Washington Avenue, a two-building complex on 2.36 acres for $1,575,000.

 

One building is a 17,600-square-foot industrial/warehouse/office facility with a 4,800-square-foot office; the other is a free-standing, 3,000-square-foot masonry building. Stephen Press of Press/Cuozzo Commercial Services represented the seller, 375 Washington Avenue Associates, LLC. Press/Cuozzo’s Joel Nesson represented the buyer. Peoples Medical/Peoples Pharmacy Express, which provides  respiratory and home medical equipment, will relocate its administrative offices, pharmacy and showroom to the complex.

 

LEASES

 

Major Murtha Park Lease

BEACON FALLS — Utz Quality Foods Inc. has signed a ten-year leased for 19,200 square feet in Building 4D located in Murtha Industrial Park on Railroad Avenue for a distribution center. Gerry D. Matthews of Matthews Commercials Properties represented Utz. Sean Duffy and Tim D’adabo Cushman & Wakefield represented the landlord, Murtha Industrial Four, LLC. 
 

Branford Office Condo Let

BRANFORD –– CPa Medical Billing, LLC, has  leased a 1,094-square-foot office condo at 420 East Main Street. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors represented the tenant. His colleague Kevin Geenty represented the landlord, Captiva, LLC.

 

Green Makes the Scene

MERIDEN –– Green Beacon Solutions has leased 1,347 square feet of Class A office space at 321 Research Parkway. Frank Hird of OR&L Commercial represented the tenant. David Barnes and Jennifer Gosselin of CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, WE Research Parkway, LLC.

 

Corporate Center Lease        

MIDDLETOWN — Omega Flex Inc. has leased 3,719 square feet on the seventh floor at Middlesex Corporate Center, 213 Court Street. Tom Ford of Midfield Corp. represented the landlord, Midfield Associates. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate LLC, represented the tenant. 

 

Office Bldg. Gets Schooled

MIDDLETOWN — The Middletown Public Schools district has leased 1,026 feet in a retail and office building at 670 Newfield Street. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate, LLC, was the sole broker in the deal, representing the tenant and the landlord, Ottavio and Letizia Monarca.

 

New Biz for Biz Park

MIDDLETOWN — Middletown Business Park, 430-460 Smith Street has several new tenants. APEX Lighting Solutions has leased 6,362 square feet; Universal-Bach Transportation Services Inc. leased 583 square feet; Sabrina Cameron, MSW leased 393 square feet and Embedded Systems leased 362 square feet. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate LLC, represented the tenants and the landlord, BostonMiddletown, LLC.

 

New Hope for Change

MIDDLETOWN — Change Inc. has leased 1,118 at 98 Washington Street. Trevor Davis of Trevor Davis Commercial Real Estate, LLC, was sole broker in the transaction, representing the tenant and landlord, RAMO, LLC.

 

Gallery/Studio for Chapel St.

NEW HAVEN –– John Flynn and Josh Kelley have leased 4,000 square feet at 433 Chapel Street for a music studio, offices and gallery space. The Geenty Group was sole broker in the deal. The landlord is Peter Chapman of La Saraghina. 

 

Oxford Industrial Lease

OXFORD –– Triem Industries has leased 10,500 square feet at 6 Benson Road. Ed Godin was the sole broker. The landlord is Glen More LLC.

 

Apt. Building Fetches $1.2M

NEW HAVEN — A 12-unit apartment building at 2 Lyon Street has sold for $1.2 million. Brad Balletto of Northeast Private Client Group represented the buyer, Bright Stone Realty, and the seller, Petack Bepaz LLC of Great Neck, N.Y. 

 

MD Invests in Newtown

NEWTOWN –– Family physician Alex Afshar, MD has bought two buildings on 1.84 acres at 33 Church Hill Road for $1.5 million. He plans to open a medical care facility in one building and lease the other one. Jon Angel of Angel Commercial brokered the sale of the foreclosed property for Customer Bank. Atherton & Associates commercial property represented the doctor.

 

A Taste of Italy

OXFORD –- Newtown investor Walter Schnieder has acquired a 6,800-square-foot industrial condo at 91 Willenbrock Road for $345,000 and leased it to the U.S. office of Italy-based Villa Radiology Systems. Ed Godin Jr. of Matthews Commercial Properties was the sole broker. The seller was Trident Properties IV.

 

 NEWS

 

Fieldstone Village Cited

ORANGE –– Fieldstone Village has won the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut’s HOBI award for “Best New Haven County 55 + Community.” Free-standing homes in the active-lifestyle complex feature energy-efficient elements and range from 1,450 to 3,000 square feet, with prices starting at $369,900. All exterior maintenance is included.

The award will be presented on November 14 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

 

Pearce Hosts Coat Drive

GUILFORD –– H. Pearce Co., Realtors Shoreline regional offices are seeking jackets and coats in good condition for their 23rd annual coat drive. Donations can be dropped off in Guilford between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and in Branford or Clinton between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The deadline for donations is November 30.

 

 

SALES

 

Industrial Building Sold

BEACON FALLS –– KOLGA Land, LLC has paid $1.125 million for a 20,000-square-foot industrial building situated on more than five acres at 65 Lancaster Drive. The R. Calabrese Agency was sole broker in the deal. The seller was 65 Lancaster, LLC.

 BEACON FALLS  ­­–– Thirty-nine undeveloped parcels in the 99-unit Pond Spring Village active adult community at 135 Pond View Circle have been sold for $1,125,000. Independent broker Sam Berkowtz represented the buyer, Pond Spring Village, LLC. Ralph L. Calabrese of the R. Calabrese Agency represented the seller, 135 Pond Spring Village, LLC. In addition to one fully completed model, there are six partially completed units, six foundations and 26 approved building lots. The duplex units range from 1,296 square feet to 1,304 square feet.

 

NY Group Buys in Wooster Sq.

NEW HAVEN –– Bright Stone Realty has purchased a 12-unit apartment building at 2 Lyon Street in the Wooster Square neighborhood for $1.2 million, or $102 per square foot. Bradley Balletto, Northeast Private Client Group’s regional manager for southern Connecticut, represented both buyer and seller, Petack Bepaz, LLC of Great Neck, N.Y.

 

“High occupancy and growing rents in New Haven are driving strong demand for multifamily properties,” Balletto said in a statement. “In today’s still uncertain financial market conditions, income-producing real estate is still the best vehicle for generating and preserving wealth.”

 

Chef’s Equipment to Orange

ORANGE –– CEE Orange, LLC has acquired a 13,660-square-foot building on 0.97 acres at 449 Boston Post Road for $1,450,0000 for a Chef’s Equipment store. Fred A. Messore of Colonial Properties was the sole broker, representing the buyer and seller, Niko Realty, LLC.

 

$65M Rocky Hill Office Deal

ROCKY HILL –– KS Partners, a New-York based real estate investment and development company, has paid $65 million for New Boston Fund’s eight-building, 620,000-square-foot Rocky Hill office portfolio, making it the largest such transaction since the portfolio first traded in 2000.

 

The portfolio has two office complexes; Corporate Ridge, with three Class A office buildings, 500 Enterprise, 55 Capital Boulevard and 175 Capital Boulevard; and five single story buildings with office and flex space at I-91 Tech Center, 795-805 Brooker Street.

 

John McCormick, Patrick Mulready and Michael Puzzo of the Hartford Office Leasing and Investment Properties Team at CBRE/NE represented New Boston and procured the buyer. KS Partners was unrepresented.

 

At the time of the sale, the portfolio was 87-percent leased with tenants including AT&T, United Healthcare, Verizon Liberty Mutual and the American Cancer Society.

 

Lodging Group Eyes Southington

SOUTHINGTON –– Briad Lodging Group has purchased 5.75 acres of vacant commercial property at 1096 West Street for $1.2 million. The R. Calabrese Agency was sole broker in the deal, representing both the buyer and the seller, Westcorp, LLC, which has retained the agency to market a one-acre pad site remaining on the property for ground lease or for lease as build-to-suit.

 

RHP Bets on Brass City

WATERBURY –– Renewable Heat Products has purchased a 36,000-square-foot, single-story industrial building on more than five acres at 55 Fulkerson Drive. Ralph Calabrese of the R. Calabrese Agency represented the seller, T. Sendzimir Inc. Sean McDonald of Cushman & Wakefield represented the buyer.

 

 

LEASES

 

Branford Office Condo Leased

BRANFORD –– CPa Medical Billing, LLC, has leased a 1,094-square-foot condo unit at 420 East Main Street in the Thimble Creek Condominium complex. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors, represented the tenant. Kevin Geenty represented the landlord, Captiva, LLC.

 

Leasing in Lakeview Center

BRANFORD –– See Us Grow has leased 11,200 square feet in Lakeview Center, 249 West Main Street. OR&L Commercial’s Richard Gold and Phil Marshall represented the landlord, Lakeview Center Associates. The tenant was unrepresented.

 

Law Firm Doubles Down

BRANFORD –– The law firm of Parks & Pearson has doubled its space to occupy 1,500 square feet — the entire first floor — at 765 East Main Street. The law firm specializes in real estate law and real estate closings. Kevin Geenty of the Geenty Group, Realtors, was sole agent in the transaction, representing the attorneys and the landlord, Captiva LLC

 

Shoe Fits in Branford

BRANFORD ­­ –– New England Orthotic & Prosthetic System has leased 3,0000 square feet at 965 West Main Street. Frank Hird of OR&L Commercial represented the landlord, 965 West Main Street, LLC. The tenant was unrepresented.

 

Going for the Gold

BRANFORD –– Coastal Gold Exchange & Gifts, LLC, has leased 857 square feet at 71 West Main Street. The landlord is 71 West Main, LLC. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors, was the sole broker.

 

Church Finds Hamden Home

HAMDEN –– Iglesia Jehovah Mi Roca has leased an 8,247-square-foot building at 182 Welton Street. Bob Adnopoz of Colliers International was the sole broker, representing both the church and the landlord Barone Investments LLC.

 

Aeroteck Picks Hamden Ctr. II

HAMDEN –– Aeroteck Inc. has leased 5,051 square feet at Hamden Center II, 2321 Dixwell Avenue. Albert Scafati of Press Cuozzo, the exclusive broker for the Class A office property, represented the owner, Hamden Realty Associates, LP. Robert Adnopoz of Colliers International represented the tenant. 

 

Food for Thought

HAMDEN –– Nutmeg State Nutrition has expanded into 1,897 square feet at 2460 Dixwell Avenue. The Proto Group, LLC was the sole broker. The landlord is 460 Dixwell Avenue LLC.

 

Occupying Wall Street

MADISON –– The Stifel, Nicolaus Co. Inc. has leased 2,585 square feet at 64 Wall Street. Jay Stewart of Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant. Frank Hird of OR&L Commercial represented the landlord, Overshore Associates.

 

Leasing 5K for 5 Years

NEW HAVEN –– Jeffrey A. Kaslowitz of Greenwich Fleet Leasing, LLC, and Albert Lomoriello of Eastern Region Re-Marketing Services, LLC, d/b/a Automotive Co-Op, have signed a five-year lease for 5,000 square feet at 345-355 Forbes Avenue.   Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group, Realtors, was the sole broker.

 

The landlord is John LaViola.

 

Industrial Supplier Leases

ROCKY HILL –– MSC Industrial Supply Co. has leased 8,704 square feet at 50 Inwood Road. Keith Kumnick of Colliers International represented the tenant. Dave Barnes and Jen Gosselin of CBRE represented the landlord, WE 50 Inwood LLC.

 

Baking a Bigger Pie

WATERBURY — Little Caesar's Pizza Take Out has leased 2,090 square feet at the Colonial Plaza Shopping Center, 111 Thomaston Avenue. Gloria McMann of Merrigan & LeFebvre Realty represented the tenant. Matt Halprin of New England Retail Properties represented the landlord, Stop & Shop Supermarkets Inc.

 

Thank Heaven in Waterbury

WATERBURY –– 7-Eleven has signed a long-term lease to occupy 2,296 square feet at 1051 Wolcott Street. The lease value is in excess of $500,000. Tom Hill represented the landlord, Kenneth B. Warner Jr. Associates LLP. The Proto Group exclusively represents 7-Eleven throughout Connecticut.

 

 Statewide sales prices hit 10-year nadir

 

As single-family homes prices in Connecticut reached their lowest level in a decade, sales increased again in September. So says the latest report by the Boston-based Warren Group.

All told 1,900 single-family homes changed hands in Connecticut in September, a 4.5-percent increase from the 1,817 sales recorded in September 2011. Sales also increased for the third quarter, rising to 7,266 from 6,188 during the same period in 2011. Year-to-date sales are up 13.1 percent at 18,300, compared to 16,180 during the same period a year ago.

That increase is fueled by falling prices. In September the median sales price of single-family homes statewide fell 7.2 percent to $230,000, down from $248,000 a year earlier. Third-quarter median prices declined 1.6 percent to $250,750 from $255,000 in the same period of 2011, while year-to-date prices fell 4.0 from $250,000 in 2011 to $240,000 this year.

A similar trend is evident in the residential condominium market. In September condo sales rose more than seven percent from a year earlier — to 503 from 470. For the third quarter the rise was even more dramatic: up 12.6 percent to 1,760 from 1,562 a year earlier

Median condo prices in September fell 9.3 percent, to $157,000 from $173,089 in September 2011. Third-quarter median prices are down 9.8 percent, decreasing to $160,000 from $177,450 in the prior year. The year-to-date median price of condos in Connecticut is $160,000, down 8.5 percent from $175,000 a year ago.

“Home sales have increased every month in 2012, a strong sign that the housing market is recovering,” said Warren Group CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr. “This suggests that consumers have regained some confidence in the economy, and are making home purchases with more enthusiasm.

"The drop in prices is concerning, but it's typical to see sales volume increase before prices do in a recovery period,” he added.

 CBRE is looking for good ideas to improve sustainable practices for commercial buildings. The global commercial real estate services company has launched a Real Green Research Challenge, which will award as much as $1 million over the next four years for independent academic research in areas such as productivity studies proving the benefits of sustainable building occupancy and best practices or systems software to reduce operating costs or enhance revenue through recycling. As many as 15 qualifying submissions will receive initial funding of up to $15,000 in February 2013, and be eligible for additional funding of up to $250,000. Winners will collaborate with CBRE.

Abstracts of research proposals are due by December 31 at cbre.com/rgrc.

 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has acquired the assets of three Richter Real Estate offices in Stratford, Fairfield and Trumbull. The offices, doing business as Century 21 HomeServices Richter Real Estate, will merge into Coldwell offices in Fairfield and Trumbull, and Richter owners Paul Richter and Robert Richter will join Coldwell.

 OLD SAYBROOK –– RE/MAX Valley Shore and Genovali Realty have joined forces.

Principals David and Lisa Genovali bring more than 30 years of experience in residential and commercial sales, new construction and land development to the new company, which will employ 24 brokers. RE/MAX broker/owners Lorrie and Craig Milton have worked in residential real estate for more than a decade. 

 NORTH HAVEN — More than 50 H. Pearce Co., Realtors agents and employees spent September 14 — the company’s 11th annual Day of Caring — sprucing up the interior and exterior of the Connecticut Hospice in Branford. As usual, all Pearce offices were closed for the day while its workers washed hospice windows, painted, weeded and cut brush, among other tasks.

 SALES

 

 

 

Westville Apartment Complex Sells for $42M

 

NEW HAVEN ­–– UOB Eagle Rock Multifamily Property Fund LP has bought Wintergreen of Westville, a 294-unit Class A multifamily property at 400 Blake Street for $41,650,000.  Steve Witten and Victor Nolletti of Institutional Property Advisors represented the buyer and seller, SA Wintergreen LLC.

 

Built in 2008, Wintergreen is operated as a luxury rental property, with five four-story buildings housing one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, 586 parking spaces and amenities such as a 24-hour fitness “club-caliber” center, club room with a big-screen TV, gourmet kitchen and high-tech business center.

 

“We believe the new ownership has the opportunity to increase cash flow and occupancy through operational and managerial enhancements in one of the country’s best performing apartment markets,” Nolletti said in a statement.

 

 

 

Medical Building Sold

 

ANSONIA –– An investment group headed by John Aversa, MD has purchased a 6,285-square-foot medical building at 111 Wakelee Avenue for $410,000. Stephen Press of Press/Cuozzo Realtors represented the buyer, GHMA LLC. Alan M. Fischer of Fischer Real Estate represented the seller, 111 Wakelee Avenue Assoc., LLC. 

 

\hed\B. Falls Lures Manufacturer

 

BEACON FALLS ­­–– Kolga Land, LLC has acquired a 20,000-square-foot industrial building on more than five acres at 65 Lancaster Drive, for $1,125,000. Ralph L. Calabrese of the R. Calabrese Agency was sole broker in the transaction. The seller was 65 Lancaster, LLC. Kolga manufactures shields for the nuclear medicine, X-ray and nuclear power industries.

 

 

 

Med Building Fetches $6M

 

HAMDEN ­­–– Westport Investment, LLC has purchased 9 Washington Avenue, a three-story medical building, for $6.03 million, or $167.50 per square foot. Harden Crawford IV of HLC Realty represented the buyer. Mike Barr of MNBarr Commercial Real Estate represented the owner, Drazen 1993 LP.

 

\hed\Silver City Saab Story

 

MERIDEN — A former Saab dealership facility at 171 South Broad Street has attracted a new owner. Stephen Press of Press/Cuozzo Commercial Services represented both the buyer, 171 South Broad, LLC — which paid $640,000 for the 5,500-square-foot building with showroom and service area sited on 2.8 acres — and the seller, Swedish Automotive Group, LLC.

 

 

$7.7M Rental-Unit Sale

 

MERIDEN –– An apartment building at 234 Sherman Avenue has changed hands. The buyer, 234 Sherman LLC, paid $7.7 million for the property, which has 58 units — 34 one-bedroom, 20 two-bedroom and four three-bedroom apartments, along with 29 two-bedroom townhouses and one three-bedroom townhouse. Originally built as a school in 1924, the structure was converted to apartments in 1988. Taymil Britannia, LLC was the seller. Steve Witten, Victor Nolletti and Eric Pentore of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services were sole brokers in the transaction.

 

 

Milford Office Bldg. Sold

 

MILFORD –– A 6,000-square-foot office building at 200 Rowe Avenue has been bought by 200 Rowe Avenue, LLC for $400,000. Lambert Paving was the seller. John Bergin of Pearce/George J. Smith was sole broker in the deal.

 

 

 

$1.8M Naugy Apt. Sale

 

NAUGATUCK –– Trowbridge KRC, LLC has purchased a 33-unit apartment building 38 Highland Avenue for $1,840,000. The seller was Limerick Properties, LLC. Steve Pappas and Tom Boyle of Chozick Realty were sole brokers in the transaction.

 

 

 

\Firm Buys on Court Street

 

NEW HAVEN –– Performance Environmental Services has purchased a 2,300-square-foot building at 107 Court Street for $375,000. The seller was Ahern Properties. Frank D’Ostilio of Real Living Wareck D’Ostilio was the deal’s sole broker.

 

 

 

Two to Tango

 

NEW HAVEN –– Two buildings at 402 Crown Street and 45 Howe Street have been bought by 402 Crown, LLC for $720,000. The seller was Alex Rivera. Frank D’Ostilio of Real Living Wareck D’Ostilio was the sole broker.

 

 

Hilton Eyes Southington

 

SOUTHINGTON –– Briad Lodging Group, LLC has acquired a 5.75-acre property at 1096 West Street for$1.2 million for development as an upscale Homewood Suites Hotel by Hilton.  The seller was Westcorp LLC. The R. Calabrese Agency, LLC was the sole broker.

 

 

Stratford Industrial Sale

 

STRATFORD ­­–– Penmar Industries has purchased a 14,220-square-foot building at 35 Ontario Street for $850,000. The seller was Mondary Real Estate, LLC. Jon Angel of Angel Commercial was sole broker in the deal.

 

 

New Life for Old Hotel

 

WATERBURY –– VBF Capital, LLC has purchased 49 apartments and six retail stores at 380 West Main Street for $1.48 million. The seller was Rational Real Estate IV, LLC. Rick Chozick and Steve Pappas Chozick Realty were sole brokers in the transaction.

 

Built in 1910 as the Waterbury Hotel, the property was redeveloped into an apartment building in the 1980s with 17 studio apartments, 28 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units. The structure also houses 13,000 square feet of retail space. 

 

 

 

$2M for W.H. Apartments

 

WEST HAVEN ­­–– A 35-unit apartment building at 771-773 Savin Avenue has been acquired by 771 Savin Navcapman for $2.025 million. Brian Dornan of Pyramid Realy and Steve Pappas of Chozick Realty were co-brokers. F&L Virzi LLC was the seller.

 

 

 

LEASES

 

 

 

By the Grace of God

 

BRANFORD –– Grace Church has extended its lease for 4,000 square feet at 965 West Main Street. Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group, Realtors, represented the tenant. Frank Hird of OR&L Commercial represented the landlord, 965 West Main, LLC. The property includes 190,000 square feet of industrial, office and flex space.

 

 

 

Easter Seals Inks Lease

 

 

BRANFORD –– Easter Seals/Goodwill Industries has leased 11,400 square feet at 249 West Main Street for a thrift store and donation center scheduled to open this autumn. OR&L Commercial’s Toby Brimberg represented the tenant. OR&L Commercial’s Richard Gold and Phil Marshall represented the landlord, Lakeview Center Associates, LLC.

 

Biz Park Lures Tenant

 

MERIDEN –– National Default Servicing has signed a seven-year lease for 25,000 square feet at 500 South Broad Street. Sean O'Neil of Jones Lang LaSalle represented National. Frank Hird and Steve Foote OR&L Commercial represented the landlord, Meriden Business Park LLC.

 

 

Chipotle Chooses Chapel St.

 

NEW HAVEN –– Chipotle Mexican Grill has signed a ten-year lease for 2,300 square feet at 900 Chapel Street, formerly occupied by Caffé Bottega. Mike Shanahan of Fairfield Retail Partners represented Chipotle. Dan Johnson of MJB Real Estate Services Corp. represented the landlord, PMC Property Group. “They came to us in February or March [2012], and it took months [to close the deal],” Johnson said. “I think it’s going to be a tremendous use for that corner. We had a lot of interest, but we were just waiting for the right tenant. We wanted a national tenant and that’s what we got.”

 

 

Washington Ave. Yogurt Shop

 

NORTH HAVEN –– Cheri Swirl has leased 1,235 square feet at 323 Washington Avenue. Press/Cuozzo’s Albert Scafati was sole broker in the transaction, representing the yogurt shop and the landlord, TFJA, LLC. 

 

 

Direct-Mail Lease

 

WALLINGFORD –– Connecticut Direct Mail Corp has leased a 4,940-square-foot unit at 65 South Turnpike Road. The landlord is 65 South Turnpike, LLC. Bill Clarkof the Geenty Group, Realtors in Branford, was sole broker in the deal.   

 

 

From Oxford to Waterbury

 

WATERBURY –– Eemax Inc. has signed a five-year lease with a five-year renewal option for 36,000 square feet at 400 Captain Neville Drive. Ed Godin Jr. and Gerry Matthews of Matthews Commercial Properties represented the landlord, Cornerstone Realty. Frank Micali of Capitalize 360 Group represented the tenant, which manufactures electric tankless water heaters and is relocating from Oxford to a larger space.

 

 

W. Haven Retail Lease

 

WEST HAVEN ––Tile Liquidators, doing business as Tiles of Distinction, has leased 1,280 square feet in the Twelve Oaks Business Park, 375 Morgan Lane. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors, represented both the tenant and landlord, John C. D’Amato Jr. and the LAD Trust.

 

BRANFORD –– Two Thimble islands are on the market. Belden Island is listed for $3.95 million and Jepson Island for around $2 million, according to Madison agents for William Pitt Sotheby’s, which has the listings.

 

The seller is Christine Svenningsen, who owns ten of the Thimble islands.

 

Milford Mayor Benjamin Blake and Milford Chamber of Commerce members were among those who attended a September 6 ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8 Daniel Street to welcome Stacy Blake Realty, LLC to the local business community. A grand opening celebration for the residential real-estate brokerage followed the ribbon-cutting.

SALES

Park City Property Bought

BRIDGEPORT –– Joseph Palmieri has purchased a 3,200-square-foot building and car parking lot at 25-27 Burr Court for $190,000. Bruce Wettenstein of Vidal/Wettenstein represented the buyer. Alan Fischer of Fischer Real Estate represented the seller, the Community Bank.

 

Auto Facility Acquired

BRANFORD –– Premier Holdings, LLC has paid $1,55 million for a 12,313-square-foot automotive facility at 205 North Main Street. Tim McMahon and Frank Hird of OR&L Commercial represented the seller, 155 North Main Street, LLC. Peter Brown of H. Pearce represented the buyer, Premier Holdings, LLC.    

 

Former Bernie’s Sold

MIDDLETOWN –– Baker Properties has bought a 184,000-square-foot building sited on 17 acres at 1559 King Street for $5.2 million. The seller was Bristol Fields, LLC. Jay Morris and Colleen Sheridan of OR&L Commercial were sole brokers in the transaction. The property formerly was occupied by Bernie’s corporate offices, retail showroom and distribution center.

 

USPS Facility Fetches $2M

NEW HAVEN — Sonata 22, LLC has purchased the 23,700-square-foot former U.S. Postal Service Distribution Center building at 151 Frontage Road. The sale price was $2,020,000. The building will become Quality Honda of Branford’s new showroom. Phil Barber of Pearce/George J. Smith Commercial Division represented the buyer. Matt O’Hare of CBRE represented the seller, the U.S. Postal Service.

Oxford Office Sale

OXFORD — Ed Godin of Matthews Commercial has acquire]ed a 5,600-square-foot office/flex building at 207 Christian Road for $360,000. Bill Weirsman of Colonial Properties represented the seller, A&D Services, LLC.

W.H. Commercial Bldg. Sold

WEST HAVEN  –– Roger Jansen has purchased a 1,500-square-foot commercial building and adjoining 1,000-square-foot garage on 0.25 acres at 10-12 Gilbert Street for $100,000. Dan Sunderland of Dan Sunderland Realty represented Jansen. Mike Richetelli of Colonial Properties represented the seller, the Lou Govanelly Family Trust.

Major Post Rd. Transfer

WEST HAVEN –– Universal Hotel Liquidators has paid $2,450,000 for an 8.20-acre parcel at 555 Boston Post Road with several buildings and more than 70,000 square feet. One of the buildings, which most recently housed Dadd’s Xtreme Sports, will be a retail showcase and warehouse. “It’s probably the largest piece of commercial property on the Post Road in West Haven,” explains Mike Richetelli of Colonial Properties, who represented the buyer, David White, owner of Universal Hotel Liquidators and Bart Realty, its real estate company, which purchased the property. Robert Cole of Arnold Peck Commercial World represented the seller, Hide Realty Associates LLC of West Hartford. Universal caters to college students.

 

LEASES

Lakeview Center Lease

BRANFORD –– Easter Seals Goodwill Industries has leased 11,400 square feet at Lakeview Center, 249 West Main Street. Toby Brimberg of OR&L Commercial represented the tenant. Richard Gold and Phil Marshal of OR&L Commercial represented the landlord, Lakeview Center Associates, LLC.

New Branford Eatery

BRANFORD –– New Hanami Restaurant has leased 3,250 square feet at 906-930 West Main Street. Lani-Liu of Sovereign Properties represented the tenant. Fred Messore and Vin Bagdasarian of Colonial Properties represented the owners, Bruno and Angela Ceniccola.

 

Local COG Leases

ESSEX –– The Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments has leased 5,200 square feet at 145 Dennison Road, Barry Stratton of the Geenty Group, Realtors, represented the tenant. Mary O’Brien of Mary O’Brien Realty represented the landlord, John Dresty Jr.

 

MHQ Chooses Middletown

MIDDLETOWN –– MHQ has leased 10,000 square feet space 750 Newfield Street for its vehicle upfitting services, which include the installation of body armor. Steve Foote and Carol Karney of OR&L Commercial represented the building owner, Tom Staron. Foote also represented the tenant.

 

Moving to Marsh Hill

MILFORD –– Product Development Corp. has signed a three-year lease for 2,000 square feet at the Marsh Hill Business Park, 4 Oxford Road. Mike Richetelli of Colonial Properties represented the tenant. Dana Barnes of Concord Equity Group represented the landlord, Sanibel 955, LLC.

 

Subway Expands Footprint

MILFORD –– The Subway sandwich chain has signed a ten-year lease for 100,000 square feet of warehouse space at 500 Bic Drive. Chris O'Hara of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT represented the tenant. Joe Coci, managing director of Connecticut properties for the landlord, New Jersey-based Mountain Development Corp., handled the negotiations. The warehouse will be occupied by Subway’s Franchisee Shipping Center Co., LLC.

Arts Group to Universal Dr.

NORTH HAVEN –– The Jared Andrew Studio for the Performing Arts has leased 12,000 square feet at 222 Universal Drive. Chris Nolan of H. Pearce Real Estate represented Jared. Barry Stratton and Kevin Geenty of the Geenty Group, Realtors, represented the landlord, Branco Inc.

 

Post Road Sublease

ORANGE — Trebco Specialty Products, Inc. has subleased 1,200 square feet at 501 Boston Post Road from Roni Deutch Tax Services. Mike Richetelli of Colonial Properties represented the tenant. Fred Messore of Colonial Properties represented the landlord, D’Amato Investments, LLC.

 

Retailer Pens Lease

ORANGE –– Batteries Plus has signed a five-year lease for approximately 4,000 square feet at 481 Boston Post Road. Phil Barber of Pearce/George J. Smith Commercial represented the tenant. Carl Russell of Pearce/George J. Smith Commercial represented the landlord, ASO, LLC.

 

Orange Farmers Market

ORANGE — Efes Produce has signed a three-year lease for 6,300 square feet at 254 Bull Hill Lane for a retail store called Orange Farmers Market. Fred Portoff of Weichert Realtors represented the tenant. Fred Messore and Brita McGee represented the landlord, Bull Hill III Ltd.

Three’s No Crowd

ORANGE — Three tenants have signed leases at 109 Boston Post Road. Supercuts, LLC, represented by Brian Nadler of National Commercial Brokers, leased 2,000 square feet. Fred Messore of Colonial Properties, representing the landlord, Simone Development of Orange, was sole broker in the other two transactions, in which Arizona LS, LLC [d/b/a Medi-Weight Loss] leased 2,000 square feet and the University of New Haven leased 1,439 square feet.

Business Park Deal

ROCKY HILL –– DocuSource Business Solutions, LLC has leased 6,350 square feet at WinBrook Business Park, 716 Brook Street. Jay Morris and Robert Gaucher of OR&L Commercial represented both the tenant and building owner, WE 716 Brook Street, LLC, c/o Winstanley Enterprises.

 

Southington Ground Lease

SOUTHINGTON — Galaxy Development has signed a ground lease for a 3.4-acre retail redevelopment parcel at 365 Queen Street. Phil Marshall, Toby Brimberg and Frank Hird of OR&L Commercial represented both the owner, Doubleday, LLC and Galaxy, which will reconstruct part of the site for Webster Bank.

 

Hardware Firm to N. Farms Rd.

WALLINGFORD — Wesco Aircraft Hardware has signed a five-year lease for 5,000 square feet at 1070 North Farms Road. Phil Barber of Pearce/George J. Smith Commercial Division, represented the tenant. Kyle Roberts of CB Richard Ellis represented the landlord, 1070 North Farms Road, LLC.

 

Direct Mail Firm Pens Lease

WALLINGFORD — Connecticut Direct Mail Corp. has leased a 4,940-square-foot industrial unit at 65 South Turnpike Road. Bill Clark of the Geenty Group, Realtors was sole broker in the transaction. The landlord is 65 South Turnpike LLC.

Major Wallingford Deal

WALLINGFORD — Resources for Human Development has inked a seven-year lease for 8,000 square feet at 135 North Plains Industrial Road. Phil Barber of Pearce/George J. Smith Commercial Division represented the owner, David Cook. Steve Wollman of Wollman Realty represented the tenant.   

Manufacturer Sets Up Shop

 

WATERBURY — IMS Waterjet Inc. has leased 29,500 square feet at 562 Captain Neville Drive. The company is a manufacturer of industrial cutting machines. Ed Godin Jr. and Gerry Matthews of Matthews Commercial Properties represented the tenant and landlord, Cornerstone Realty.

 

 NEW HAVEN — The aldermanic Legislation Committee last month approved a zoning change from light industrial to general business for the New Haven Register building at 40 Sargent Drive. This will allow the newspaper company to market the 193,000-square-foot building on 13.1 acres for retail use. The Register, which no longer prints newspapers on Sargent Drive, seeks to move downtown and recast itself as a “digital media hub.”

“The Register cannot stay here,” attorney Marc Wallman told the committee. “It has to move. The property is barely occupied and it is very expensive. We do not want the property to become vacant.”

Two venerable real estate brokerage firms have become one.

 

“It made a lot of sense,” says Barbara Pearce, president and CEO of H. Pearce Real Estate, which recently purchased the assets of George J. Smith & Son Real Estate, a commercial brokerage in Milford.

 

Pearce will continue to serve as CEO of Pearce Real Estate.

 

Smith president DeForest W. (Frosty) Smith will become a Pearce senior vice president.

 

The courtship was brief. “We’ve been keeping our eyes open for an opportunity to merge for a couple of years,” says Smith, who contacted Pearce several months ago after discussions with his three agents. “I asked the guys who would you feel comfortable with, and they said, ‘Pearce would be a good fit.’”

 

The partnership, Smith added, “really expands our services. They have over 100 agents, and their strong commercial division will allow us to do things we couldn’t do before, like appraisals, senior-citizen advice and mortgages.”

 

The deal also was a good geographical fit, expanding Smith’s reach into Pearce’s much wider territory — from greater New Haven and the shoreline north to central Connecticut — and giving Pearce, whose commercial and corporate offices are in North Haven, a strong presence in and around the Milford area.

 

“We wanted to maintain our Milford office, which was a little awkward because I own the building and Barbara had to sign a lease,” Smith explains. “In the southwestern portion of New Haven County, including Milford, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge, we’ll be know as Pearce/George J. Smith. Realtors.”

 

Real estate runs in the blood of both new partners.

 

Pearce’s father, Herbert H. Pearce, established his eponymous company in 1958; Smith’s grandfather founded his firm in 1886.

 

Both Smith and Pearce said a union was appealing because of similar company histories and business practices.

 

“Our combined force is one of the largest, if not the largest, outside of Fairfield County,” Pearce said.

It may be getting larger.

 

“We’ve been approached by some individuals and agencies as a result of our merger,” Pearce says.

 

Adds Smith, “We’re talking with some agents about expanding the footprint into Fairfield County.”