New Owners To Consider All Available Options For Complex On Garden Street In City
May 20, 2006
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer
The MassMutual building has finally been sold, but it remains unclear what is to become of the Asylum Hill Georgian Revival built in 1926.
A group of real estate investors from California and Massachusetts bought the former MassMutual complex on Garden Street in Hartford for $7 million this week, and say they now plan to figure out the facility's future.
Michael Hackman, CEO of Hackman Capital Partners LLC in Los Angeles, said Friday that he does not yet have a use in mind for the complex, but says he wants to consider all available options.
"We've learned that it takes the same amount of time and money to develop a bad idea as a good idea, and we want to make sure we develop a good idea," Hackman said. "We cannot plan for a project based around a strategy of one user. One has to look at the facility and look at creating a potential development that could appeal to multiple tenants and users."
The ownership partnership consists of Hackman Capital and Calare Properties Inc. of Hudson, Mass.
"As investors looking for value, we saw a great state with great infrastructure, great industries, a state government proactive in revitalizing ... and that was attractive to us," said Jonathan Epstein, Hackman's president.
Jonathan K. Putnam, a commercial real estate broker at Cushman & Wakefield of Connecticut Inc. in Hartford, represented MassMutual in the sale and said that the most obvious use for the facility is as an office building.
"But I'm sure they intend to explore all possibilities and, like any investor, they will try to use the building to its highest and best use, given the current market conditions," Putnam said. "If there are any users - whether it be educational or medical-related, or anything you can think of - if it makes sense for the property, it would be worth considering."
The building's new owners said they had not yet been in contact with the city about the property, but Mayor Eddie A. Perez said through a spokeswoman that he is looking forward to working with the partnership.
MassMutual announced in 2004 that it would vacate the Garden Street property, which is on 11.2 acres in the heart of the Asylum Hill neighborhood, and move most of its operations out of the city. The insurer gradually moved its 1,200 workers to sites in Enfield and Springfield, a process it completed in late March.
The site was listed for sale at $13 million; its current city property assessment was $12.74 million.
In a statement, MassMutual said it was "pleased to sell the building to a high-quality buyer, and we're pleased that the transaction is now completed. MassMutual looks forward to continued growth in Connecticut, as well as remaining an active corporate citizen in the Hartford area."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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