By LAURA SCHREIER, Hartford Business Journal Staff Writer
July 30, 2007
The owners of Hartford’s Bushnell on the Park want to sell the property, in a move that will likely convert the luxury apartments to condominiums.
The sale — expected to be at least in the $25-$30 million range — will also likely double the investment the building’s owner made just five years ago.
In the last few years, downtown Hartford has been fertile ground for new housing. Hartford 21, the Metropolitan, Temple Street, 55 on the Park, Trumbull on the Park and others have raised downtown’s profile as a residential destination. But Bushnell on the Park is the forebear of them all.
The property was once owned by the scandal-plagued Colonial Realty. In the wake of that company’s collapse in the early 1990s, it sold to Aspen Real Estate for a mere $2.2 million. In 2002, Bushnell Regency LLC bought the property for $15.6 million.
Only 51 of the building’s units are individually owned, said real estate broker Rick Chozick of Chozick Realty. The other 129 — plus the building’s office space — are rentals.
The ideal buyer, said Chozick — who brokered the building’s sale in 2002 and is listing agent for it again — would be willing to offer more units for sale instead of renting out most of the building. The large block of condos was offered for sale to the public about 20 years ago, he said, but the rest has consistently been rental property.
Bushnell on the Park is being sold as an open bid, and Chozick declined to offer any estimated sale prices. But if a buyer made additional investments to add new touches to the units — such as marble kitchen countertops — it’s thought the Bushnell units could command $325 per square foot, comparable to going rates at buildings such as the Linden, the Metropolitan and neighboring Bushnell Towers.
If so, with the additional sale of nearly 190 parking spaces, a buyer might be able to eventually realize upwards of $41 million in gross revenue after resale. That would support a sale price now of anywhere between a minimum of $25 million to as much as $35 million.
The city assessed the building at nearly $23 million, not including the 51 individually owned units, said city assessor Lawrence LaBarbera.
John Palmieri, executive director of the Hartford Redevelopment Agency, said such a building might do better to avoid aiming for the luxury crowd. In a downtown full of newer luxury housing, the 40-year-old building might find mid-range buyers for its individual units.
“Right now, the market is better suited for smaller units — young professionals, even empty nesters,” he said.
Bushnell on the Park has 8-foot ceilings and smaller-than-average units, Palmieri said, and its block-walled units are tough to reconfigure aside from surface upgrades such as updated kitchens.
Chozick said the residential parts of the building have amenities popular with condo-seekers, such as a view of Bushnell Park, a fitness facility and underground parking.
The property is in good condition, he said, but “I would anticipate that anyone who buys the property would do a little rehab.”
The building also contains 28,000 square feet of Class A office space.
Nicolas Morizio, president of real estate firm Colliers, Dow and Condon, handles leasing for the building’s office space and said the commercial portion of the building usually has few vacancies.
Tenants rent their space now, but Morizio estimated that the office space could fetch between $100 and $125 per square foot if sold as office condos.
“They have a great parking situation, which is difficult to find in downtown Hartford,” Morizio said. “It makes all the difference.”