Web Sites, Documents and Articles >> Hartford Business Journal  News Articles >

Corporate HQs Take A Hit Too

By Greg Bordonaro

March 26, 2012

Downtown Hartford rental properties aren't the only office buildings that have seen their values negatively impacted by the Great Recession.

The city's corporate headquarters have also taken a haircut.

Take the iconic Travelers Tower, built nearly a century ago and located in the heart of downtown at 700 Main St.

In 2006, the city valued the building with its stone exterior at $54.2 million (that value wasn't reflected until 2010 because the city phased in 2006 revaluations over a five-year period. It's the same scenario for all commercial real estate in the city).

But the city's recent revaluation placed the Tower's value at $44.5 million, a decline of 18 percent.

The property and casualty insurer's other main tower downtown, located next door on Prospect Street, was valued at $42.2 million, down 25 percent from its 2006 market value of $56 million.

Travelers is planning a multimillion-dollar renovation of its main tower, but has not yet released details. Sources say the investment could be as much as $30 million.

The Hartford Financial Services Group saw its corporate headquarters at 690 Asylum St. lose 17 percent of its value over the past five years. The insurer's 28 acres of property has a market value of $59 million, down from $71.9 million in 2006.

Of course not all Hartford corporate residents are in accord with the city on its recent market value assessments.

The Phoenix Cos., whose Boat Building with tinted greenish-blue glass exhibits one of the most intriguing architectural designs downtown, is appealing the city's $20.8 million assessed market value.

Instead, the life insurance company said its headquarters, which was built in the 1960s and designed by Max Abramovitz, who also designed the United Nations Building in New York City, said its office tower has a market value closer to $14.5 million, or 30 percent below what the city's valuation.

In its appeal, the company said the city's valuation was not the buildings "true and actual value, but grossly excessive, disproportionate and illegal considering the prevailing real estate market."

The company declined to comment further on its appeal.

Late last year, The Phoenix hired a brokerage firm to search for one or more office tenants to occupy 62,000 feet of empty ground floor space in the 16-floor building.

The office tower is housing fewer people than it did in years past as a result of The Phoenix's financial woes following the 2008 financial crisis, which led to layoffs and downsizing. The company employs about 375 people in Connecticut, compared to 855 about three or four years ago.

Health insurer Aetna also saw the value of its corporate headquarters at 151 Farmington Ave. take a hit.

With a market value of $107 million in 2006, the 1930s brick building that greets passer buyers along Interstate 84 has lost 18 percent of its worth over five years.

The city assessed its current market value at $87.9 million.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Business Journal. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Business Journal Archives at http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/archives.php.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
Powered by Hartford Public Library  

Includes option to search related Hartford sites.

Advanced Search
Search Tips

Can't Find It? Have a Question?