State Interested In Buying Former Hartford Office Supply Building?
by KENNETH R. GOSSELIN
June 19, 2013
A tax foreclosure auction set for next week on the former Hartford Office Supply Co. building in Hartford has been put off until September, allowing the owners to negotiate with two interested buyers, one of them the state of Connecticut, the building’s owner told me today.
“We are moving forward with the potential offers,” David Kushner, principal of Paradigm Capital Group in New York, said.
In addition to the state, Paradigm has given a developer — Dakota Partners, Inc. of Waltham, Mass. — an option to purchase the 4-story, brick-and-brownstone building at 390 Capitol Ave. in the city’s Frog Hollow neighborhood, according to court documents.
Redevelopment of the long-vacant building is seen as essential to revitalization efforts in the neighborhood.
Last week, Paradigm Capital argued in a court filing that the auction, scheduled for June 29, should be put off until the fall so it could negotiate with the state on a potential purchase.
Jeffrey Beckham, a spokesman for the state Department of Administrative Services, said the state has looked at acquiring the 150,000 square foot building in the past.
Beckham said the state routinely keeps an eye on building that are near those occupied by state workers. The 4-story building is just east of state offices on Capitol Avenue, down the street from the recently purchased 55 Farmington Avenue and near both the state legislative office building and the Capitol building.
He declined to comment on the claim that the state now was negotiating with Paradigm on a potential purchase.
Creditor Plymouth Park Tax Services, also known as XSpand, is seeking to foreclose after buying a tax lien on the property. Court documents show Paradigm owes Plymouth Park nearly $300,000 on a property with an appraised value of $2 million.
Juda J. Epstein, a Bridgeport lawyer representing Plymouth Park, said Paradigm told the judge a closing on the sale was expected in August.
“We are hoping to be in a better spot in a few months, and there will be a closing,” Epstein told me this morning.
The now-postponed auction was moved to Sept. 21 Tuesday by a judge in Superior Court in Hartford.
Plymouth Park, also known as XSpand, is seeking to foreclose after buying a tax lien on the property. Court documents show Paradigm owes nearly $300,000 on a property that’s worth about $2 million. XSpand is owned by JPMorganChase.
Dakota Partners, Inc. of Waltham, Mass. already has an option to purchase the property, an agreement confirmed to Property Line by city officials two weeks ago.
Dakota wants to convert the former factory building into about 115 apartments but still must line up financing.
Roberto Arista, a principal at Dakota, told me earlier this he wasn’t aware of either the impending auction or the state’s interest in the property.
“We’re trying to sort this all out,” Arista said.
Arista declined to disclose how much Dakota was willing to pay for the building under the option.
Arista said the mix of potential apartments — market rate and rent restricted — hasn’t been determined and will depend on the financing Dakota is able to line up. City officials initially said the split would be 90 percent market rate and 10 percent geared to low- to moderate-income households.
Dakota also is seeking to convert the former office building at 179 Allyn St. near Union Station into 63 market-rate apartments. The $14.7 million project has been approved for $6.5 million in funding by the Capital Region Development Authority. The funding is expected to be approved by the State Bond Commission Friday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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