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Foreclosure Scorecard Needed To Keep Up With Hartford Building

By Kenneth R. Gosselin

March 19, 2012

You need a scorecard to keep up with the foreclosures on the old Hartford Office Supply Co. building at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Flower Street in Hartford.

For the second time in as many years, the 150,000-square-foot brick and brownstone structure — last envisioned for conversion into apartments — has been hit with a foreclosure filing, according to court records, this time by the company that bought a tax lien on the property.

Plymouth Park Tax Services, also known as XSpand, is seeking to take possession of the property from the current owners, Paradigm Capital Corp. of New York. XSpand is owned by JPMorganChase.

Paradigm, which has a photo of the building at 390 Capitol Ave. on its web site, took control of the building in 2010 from Tarragon Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The bankruptcy is pending.

Paradigm didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.

According to city records, Plymouth Park bought tax liens of $177,000 covering payments that weren’t made to the city for 2007 and 2008. Paradigm is now behind by in paying $333,000 for 2009 and 2010, records show.

Tarragon bought the building in 2005 for $2.65 million from Henry M. Zachs, whose father bought the building in 1939. Tarragon first envisioned condominiums, then apartments for the site; and, in 2008, Tarragon made the only improvement seen under their stewardship: two, 20-over-20 paned windows. The windows were supposed to show what the exterior the converted building would look like, but they became a reminder of a redevelopment failure.

Many had hoped the apartments would become a reality and become a sorely-needed boost for restaurant and businesses.

Some of the structure dates back to the late 1800?s and, in the early 20th century, was occupied by Pratt & Whitney toolmakers — a different company from the aircraft giant in East Hartford.

There has been little activity at 390 Capitol since Paradigm’s takeover. Last summer, some weeds were cut down in the front of the building. In recent months, the structure has been the target of vandalism.

This morning, the only life I saw or rather heard were the birds which have nested in the silver letters of “Hartford Office Supply Co.,” still affixed to the facade.

A roll of papers — the summons for the foreclosure — was still anchored near the front door with an elastic band.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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