State Interested In Buying Former Hartford Office Supply Building?

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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.

The former Hartford Office Supply Co. building on Capitol Avenue is scheduled for a foreclosure auction next week. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/

A foreclosure auction on the former Hartford Office Supply Co. building on Capitol Avenue scheduled for next week has been postponed. Photo by Kenneth R. Gosselin/

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.






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11 thoughts on “State Interested In Buying Former Hartford Office Supply Building?

  1. pete

    Let’s get this right. The state is bankrupt and our corrupt gov continues to spend to bail out his hack friends

  2. alan

    the buyer of last resort. Funny i worked in Hartford 85-88 and I really had to plan to get downtown, find parking, etc. From exit 27 North stop and go. Last week I wisked in on a Wednesday morning like it was Sunday morning, 55 MPH all the way, tons of parking deals. A lot has changed, govt is the only business in hartford and maybe Geno can open up a restaurant there..that seems to be the only thriving hartford institution

  3. mike

    it probably has nothing to do to with the massive 2900 space Morgan street garage, or the one attached to the old sage allen apartments built around 2005, or the one attached to trumbull on the park also from around 2005, or the two garages recently built by Aetna..

    I find it amusing that people complain about a lack of parking in Hartford, but also complain that the city is dead due to the parking “deals” advertized.

    I know there is no way to convert the ingorant, but I suggest you keep a more open mind about Hartford. Its progress is impressive in the few years I have lived in CT. add in the planned projects and it is absolutely obvious that the city is close to a tipping point.

    1. Patrick

      Agreed Mike. Some people will nitpick anything positive or negative so they can try and turn it into a reason why in their opinion Hartford sucks, is boring, etc.

      I’m not sure why the state would be looking to buy this building? Has anyone heard what they would be purchasing the building for? Especially if they’re in the process of buying a 2nd office tower downtown to relocate workers to. I think this building would better serve Hartford and the neighborhood as a whole, as apartments rather than an office building.

      1. J L

        I agree with you both. It will be encouraging to see this building occupied one way or the other, but residential is probably the best use. I can see why the state might want to locate near existing offices, but it did seem that they were initially satisfied that 55 Farmington Avenue and Connecticut River Plaza would meet their space requirements. On the other hand, since they’re consolidating a number of different offices, I can see how additional space needs might materialize. Perhaps they should look at the former Travelers Education Center, which is almost exactly the same size as the Hartford Office Supply Building and conveniently located near CT River Plaza.

        1. mike

          I would agree that the apartment proposal is a better use than office space.

          The office might provide some additional day time activity, but the apartment will help anchor this part of Lawrence street and can Capitol Ave in conjunction with the work of Billings Forge etc. This could make for some neighborhood gentrification, and not the bad kind of gentrification where current residents are just pushed out, but the good kind where all sorts of people live together and a sense community and neighborhood pride is developed.

          The stae did say immediately after securing 55 Farmington and CT River Plaza that they were shopping for additional space downtown as they idified additional consolidation opportunities.

          It may well be in addition to this space as well. The state leases an AMAZING ammount of office space.

          I too think that the travelers education center will need some state help. no private company will lease that space with the asbestos in it, and the state can better allocate funds to remove asbestos than anyone else. they could buy, rennovate and use along with the other buildings and if they ever need to move on the building would be better off than it is now.

          1. Patrick

            I didn’t realize the Travelers Education Center was comparable in size to this building. I agree Travelers would be a better site for additional workers, especially since it’s in the heart of downtown and near other businesses that workers could walk to and enjoy after work(Wadsworth, Riverfront Landing, the Park, dining, The Bushnell, etc) and CT River Plaza.

    2. alan

      I said there were tons of parking deals..also how easy the commute is now compared to the 80’s as so many companies have moved from Hartford. NO private sector companies would move to hartford, thus the scooping up of vacant office buildings for pennies on the dollar

      1. J L

        Actually, several private sector companies have wisely chosen to move to or expand in Hartford in the past few years: CareCentrix, the BL Companies, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, S.H. Smith Insurance, GlobeOp Financial Services, and Hinckley, Allen & Snyder. They are part of a national trend toward locating offices in the vibrant, walkable environments toward which young talent gravitates. This trend will be reinforced locally by UConn’s downtown relocation of its Greater Hartford campus, bringing to the city several thousand students who will benefit from internships in the short term and, over a longer timeframe, fill companies’ demand for skilled workers.

    1. Joseph

      yeah, you’re ignorant. JL just finished posting up a whole slew of companies, yet you think negatively. Great. Go back to your hole, dude.

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