Starwood Capital Acquires West Hartford’s Blue Back Square

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UPDATE: The sale did not include the condominiums. The original price tag also included roads and other public improvements.

Investment giant Starwood Capital Group, as expected, announced today that it has acquired West Hartford’s Blue Back Square.

Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed, but records filed with the town clerk in West Hartford show the purchase price was $105 million.

Blue Back’s 460,000 square feet of office, retail and apartment space had been on the market for nearly two years. A month ago, Property Line reported a deal with Starwood was in the works.

“We are pleased to be acquiring a high quality, well-located, mixed-use development that is an integral asset within the upscale West Hartford community,” Ethan Bing, vice president, Starwood Capital, said, in a written statement.

Greenwich-based Starwood and its retail affiliate, Starwood Retail Partners, said it planned to bring its retail expertise “to enhance what is already a premier live/work/play destination center.”

Starwood declined to elaborate today on what future investments it might make in Blue Back.

Founded in 1991, Starwood has completed over 490 transactions valued at $36 billion, as of Sept. 30, 2012, according to its web site. The investment firm has $23 billion of assets under management.

Other, separate development is planned in the Blue Back area, including a boutique hotel on town-owned property.

Blue Back was developed by Farmington real estate developer Robert Wienner who joined with European investors Ronald de Waal and Street-Works LLC. Two years ago, Blue Back was put up for sale, part of a larger portfolio being sold by de Waal’s Alanta-based Ronus Properties, Blue Back’s principal owner.

The $159 million development opened in November, 2007. It is anchored by several major tenants, including Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble, REI and The Cheesecake Family restaurant.

Ever since Blue Back opened, there has been heavy demand for its 100,000 square feet of office space even through the recession. As of last summer, all the office space was leased, with the exception of 5,000 square feet that was on the market for sublease.

Office rents pushed up into the mid-$30s compared with the mid-$20s for downtown Hartford.

Blue Back Square, geared toward pedestrians, was built in the so-called new-urbanist style, with parking lots on either end of the development. From the lots, or from either side of Memorial Road — which bisects the development — visitors step into a village of low-lying buildings. Developers incorporated historic, brick municipal building facades along South Main Street into the complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Starwood Capital Acquires West Hartford’s Blue Back Square

  1. Nick Nichols

    If it sold for $105 million and it cost $159 million did they take a loss on the property or was the revenue over the last 5+ years enough to end up in the Black? Just wondering.

    1. Kenneth R. Gosselin Post author

      No. I could have been clearer in the post. The sale did not include the condos. A portion of the costs also went to building roads and other public improvements. Thanks for writing in.

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