October 16, 2006
By MATTHEW L. BROWN, Hartford Business Journal Writer
The former G. Fox building downtown is now condos.
In an unusual move, the owners of the building, Hartford Downtown Revival LLC, hammered out a $25 million refinancing deal that split 960 Main Street into an office condo and a retail condo.
The move separates the building’s successful and mostly occupied office space from its languishing, nearly empty retail space.
According to John DiBella of Metropolitan Financial Resources, the downtown group refinanced its mortgage in an attempt to revive its suffering retail space.
Last week, city brokers were quick to point out that CB Richard Ellis has been marketing space at 960 Main “without a lot of luck.”
DiBella brokered the transaction between the revival and Deutschebank Mortgage Capital. Now, the revival may offer one range of lease rates for the retail portion of the building, and a higher range of rates for the office portion.
The building is made of about three floors of retail space and nine floors of office space.
The split into office and retail condos “allows [the revival] to get more preferred terms and conditions,” DiBella said.
“The retail portion was only 25 percent leased in the second and third quarter,” DiBella said, and the revival couldn’t offer lower lease rates without refinancing its own mortgage.
“The office portion is 85 percent leased,” DiBella said, to big-time tenants like AT&T and Comcast. “Trying to market those two together to the secondary market just didn’t sell.”
By refinancing, the Hartford Downtown Revival lowers its mortgage payments, and “can continue to offer [retail] space at reasonable rates.”