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Architectural Gem In Downtown Hartford Office Market Going To Auction

By Kenneth R. Gosselin

October 18, 2012

An architectural gem near Hartford’s Union Station is going on the auction block next month, following a lengthy foreclosure.

The office building at the corner of Allyn and High streets — designed by the same architects as the city’s historic Goodwin Hotel — will be sold in an auction Nov. 14, according to the auction house conducting the sale.

The six-story building, known as The Professional Building, has street-level retail, including the Nv Nightclub and the Black Bear Saloon. It was built in the 1880s in a combination of the Romanesque and Renaissance Revival style with ornamental terra cotta panels.

Sheldon Good & Co., the auction house, said the 70,000-square-f00t building is nearly 80 percent vacant. The minimum bid is $1.5 million; the original mortgage on the property was $4.2 million.

Mark L. Troen, the auction house’s chief operating officer, said he expects bids from two types of purchasers: those that want to occupy a portion of the building and lease out the rest; and real estate investors who will lease to other tenants.

In 2000, the structure was purchased for $1.1 million, and the new owners pursued a major renovation. The work included restoring the exterior architectural details, which had fallen into disrepair. Stucco that had long covered a street-level colonnade was removed, revealing columns with ornately cast capitals. Updates also were made to building systems.

The building, known as 179 Allyn St. but also carries the address of 53-59 High St., was sold in 2004 for $2.3 million to SKAR LLC. SKAR’s principals were Shawn Carlin and Robert Sandell. Sandell was an aggressive purchaser of apartments in Hartford five years ago.

A year later, Carlin and Sandell refinanced a $4.2 million mortgage on the property, according to online records maintained by The Warren Group. The mortgage went into default in November, 2008 and fell into foreclosure in April, 2009, court records show.

A Superior Court judge in July, 2010 ordered the property be repossessed by the lender, Citibank. The owners appealed but withdrew that appeal in May, 2011.

The appeal was withdrawn as Allyn Street Management LLC of Lakewood, N.J. purchased a package of soured loans from Citibank, including the one on 179 Allyn St., Troen said.

Allyn Street Management subsequently took control of the building through negotiations with SKAR that transferred ownership to them but allowed SKAR to avoid a formal foreclosure. Warren Group records show SKAR received $500,000 as a result of the negotiations.

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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