“Choyce Peterson’s tenant representation process produced outstanding results for our organization,” said Becky Lyons, Keep America Beautiful’s chief operating officer. “John and Adam’s keen insight into the Stamford office market and their tactful negotiation skills proved invaluable in obtaining extremely favorable lease terms.”
OperationsInc, which helps employers establish human resources policies and training programs, is moving its headquarters. The firm is taking more than 12,000 square feet of space at the MerrittView office building at 383 Main Ave., owned by Empire State Realty Trust.The new office will accommodate up to 70 of OperationsInc’s 90 employees at any point, according to CEO David Lewis, with the company to run onsite training as well as interactive webinars on varying topics when it moves in January 2020.
Choyce Peterson, Inc. has released the 19th semi-annual version of its Silhouette Study. The full-size poster tracks changes in office space availabilities from year-end 2018 to mid-year 2019 in larger, primarily multi-tenanted class A office buildings in Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk. The unique study uses comparative building silhouettes to illustrate the absorption of space, as well as overall availability statistics for the selected buildings in the respective municipalities.As represented in the study, Greenwich continues to be the strongest of the three submarkets with an availability rate of 17.3% (an increase from 14% at YE2018), as 8 Greenwich Office Park, 1 Greenwich Plaza, 55 Railroad Ave. and 600 Steamboat Rd. added large blocks of space to the market.
Developers, towns take a look at land use rules to shape area’s future.On a Wednesday evening, a knot of millennials gathered in a ground-floor working area at the Curb apartments in Norwalk. Just down Glover Avenue, a somewhat larger crowd of white-collar workers drifted from nearby offices into a warehouse, converted only this month into the Junction at North Seven leisure zone.It is the kind of “work-play” flexibility that the developer of both sites plans to make an integral element of its Connecticut projects going forward — and a flexible mindset others say city planning and zoning boards would be smart to emulate, as a way to move ahead on underdeveloped swaths in their own backyards.
Choyce Peterson, Inc. (www.choycepeterson.com), a commercial real estate brokerage and consulting firm which specializes in tenant representation, announced the successful completion of negotiations for a new lease on behalf of a consortium of lawyers (“Greenwich Attorneys”) for 2,200 square feet of space at 1037 East Putnam Avenue in Riverside, CT. Adam Cognetta, Vice President, represented the Greenwich Attorneys in the transaction. Morris Barocas, Michelle Lee Beltrano and Ella Cohen had separately established law practice interests in lower Fairfield County, but felt they could further enhance their respective businesses by combining the individual needs for space collectively. This would allow them to lease a larger, nicely-appointed office for them and their staff, and increase the irrespective businesses with referrals from their complementary legal practices.
Weeks after selling off the massive Matrix Corporate Center in Danbury, the estate of a Long Island developer found a Greenwich buyer for a smaller office building on Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk.A limited liability company controlled by Greenwich-based Hanover Real Estate Partners spent $16.5 million to acquire the five-story building at 535 Connecticut Ave., which serves as the headquarters for Crius Energy and with multiple other tenants having offices in the building including Belvoir, OperationsInc and UBM.The transaction resulted in a conveyance tax payday of nearly $300,000 for the city of Norwalk and the state of Connecticut, according to Rick McQuaid, town clerk.
“Take those buildings out of the equation — as many will not lease to tenants less than 40,000 square feet — then we have a healthy market,” principal John Hannigan said. “When large empty buildings become populated with a few tenants, it generates a vibrancy that creates momentum for other tenants to occupy those buildings ...which in turn puts some downward pressure on pricing in competing buildings.”
In early 2013, 9 W. Broad St. on the edge of downtown Stamford languished as an empty and neglected property. Today, it hums with activity as some 400 workers stream in and out of a refurbished nine-story structure. Stamford and other communities in southwestern Connecticut still grapple with office vacancy rates hovering above 20 percent. But the revitalization of 9 W. Broad St. and the turnaround of similar buildings show how property owners’ capital investments and the draw of central locations can make corporate hubs attractive to tenants in a challenging market. “There is a little reticence in the market to being that first tenant in, so the owner has to prove themselves,” said, principal of in Norwalk, a firm that represents tenants in commercial real estate transactions.
The development of the Harbor Point mixed-use complex in Stamford’s South End reflects the growth of the city’s residential base in recent years.Stamford ranks seventh among small American cities in economic growth, according to a report released this week by a division of the Financial Times.In addition to its No. 7 overall position among some 200 cities with populations between 100,000 and 350,000, Stamford placed second among small cities for connectivity and ninth for economic potential. The 2017-18 standings for the American Cities of the Future from the Financial Times’ FDI unit, which studies foreign direct investment, also evaluated cities’ business friendliness, human capital and lifestyle and cost effectiveness.
Banks lending to developers in Fairfield and Westchester Counties report that business has been steady for the past 12 to 18 months, thanks to low interest and capitalization rates.The future looks to promise more of the same – no wild swings up or down – though there is some debate on how General Electric’s exit from the city of Fairfield may impact that county at large.“We’re on a slow, steady path of growth,” said Gary Magnuson, executive vice president and head of commercial real estate (CRE) finance at Citizens Bank. “Given the economy and the fundamentals, we’re looking pretty strong both nationally and locally within the greater New York area.”
The number of empty offices in Fairfield County has declined slightly, according to one brokerage — the first time they’ve seen that trend in several years. Choyce Peterson, a commercial real estate brokerage in Fairfield County, keeps a close eye on the marketplace in office rentals, on behalf of businesses looking for space.In the years since the great recession, there’s generally been a glut of commercial real estate. Vacancy rates have run at over 20 percent of all office space. One of the enduring problems has been large companies like UBS and Pitney Bowes moving their operations, and then offering hundreds of thousands of square feet on the rental market.
With a tight corridor in Norwalk the hottest pocket of commercial real estate in Fairfield County, a few blocks in downtown Stamford could soon inherit that mantle as the UBS building comes into play.In March, the Wall Street Journal reported UBS plans to move its offices from its longtime home at 677 Washington Boulevard into the building RBS built in 2010 across the street at 600 Washington Boulevard. The UBS building has been listed as available since last fall by the Stamford office of Cushman & Wakefield, which has yet to report any leasing activity in the building while UBS finalizes plans for its Stamford workforce.
As the economy slowly improves, more commercial real estate executives are looking to develop assets and deploy capital in secondary markets to generate returns, and the Stamford market is providing opportunities.Of the 100 senior commercial real estate executives surveyed in a 2014 Commercial Real Estate Outlook Survey conducted by tax advisory firm KPMG, 68 percent expect to increase capital spending in 2014, up from 60 percent in 2013.Interest in Stamford is increasing, according to John DiMenna Jr., president of locally based Seaboard Properties, which owns commercial buildings at 300 Main St., 1 Atlantic St., and 88 Hamilton Ave., in Stamford and 220 Elm St., in New Canaan.
Shrewd office-building owners try to get ahead of the competition in luring tenants.Many do it by offering lower lease rates and deeper concessions than the building down the street, while others provide amenities that companies shopping for space would find hard to ignore.Offering an array of amenities makes a building highly attractive to prospective corporate tenants, according to Kim DePra, director of marketing of the Ashforth Co., which owns 3001 Summer St., a 290,000-square-foot office building in Stamford that underwent a $12 million reconstruction in 2012. Ashforth's construction division, A.P. Construction, was the construction manager and general contractor for the project.
Companies have advertised their products and services on billboards along America's roadsides for as long as people can remember, and they have proudly posted their names atop their headquarters buildings, but now placing a corporate name on a building where a company is renting space can be a key factor when negotiating a lease with a landlord.When a company is considering locating an operation in a building along Interstate 95, particularly in Stamford, naming rights is often a topic of conversation.
Vacancy levels of Class A office buildings in much of Fairfield County remain at more than 20 percent, forcing corporate landlords to go to extra lengths to retain their tenants and lure others from their competition.As companies see their leases approach expiration, many are investigating new addresses as a way to cut expenses. Building owners are more than willing to offer inducements like free or reduced rent for an initial period or free fit-outs to attract tenants.Landlords like the Matrix Group, of Smithtown, N.Y., owner of the Matrix Center in Danbury, are willing to make deals to keep tenants.
Whether it's a well-groomed head of hair or a manicured lawn, appearance is an undeniable factor in making a good impression.In the competitive market of commercial real estate in Fairfield County, landscaping is an important contributor in attracting a top-flight tenant to a Class A property, experts say. "First impressions are critical," said John Angel, president of Angel Commercial in Fairfield. "It's like dating. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression. Otherwise, you might not have a second date."High respected, high-achieving companies expect a property to reflect their image, he said.
It has always been thought that as the economy improves, companies would hire more staff and office buildings in Fairfield County would start to fill up.But while real estate brokers continue to believe that expanding employment rolls will mean a drop in office vacancy rates, some companies are squeezing employees into less space while others are looking to communications technology to reduce their space needs.
A Greenwich address has always been a sought-after prize for many companies, and the manager of a long-established office park in town expects to capitalize on it after launching a $10 million capital improvement program at the 425,000-square-foot complex.Located on 23 wooded acres, the nine buildings in Greenwich Office Park were constructed between 1970 and 1978 and have never undergone a complete, in-depth upgrade, according to David Block, senior vice president at the Stamford office of CBRE Group, which markets the property.
As Fairfield County's office market limps along for another quarter with a vacancy rate at more than 20 percent, one sprawling vacant complex in Stamford stands out as a property that commercial real estate brokers point to as a key reason.Recently acquired by Building and Land Technology, a Stamford-based real estate developer, through Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy proceedings, the expansive 614,000-square-foot building has been vacant for nearly three years, spurred by the departure of General Reinsurance Corp., from a 300,000-square-foot space in late 2009.Gen Re moved to 120 Long Ridge Road, a building owned by Building and Land Technology.
The commercial real estate market in Fairfield County continues to drift in the doldrums as many companies remain wary about hiring more staff and financial services firms, the bedrock of the area economy, grapple with the uncertain investment market.Fairfield County's overall leasing activity for the first half of 2012 totaled 857,069 square feet, a 23.9 percent decrease from the 1.13 million square feet leased in the first half of 2011, according to the Stamford office of commercial real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield.
OperationsInc, a human resources outsourcing firm, has been growing. Because of that, its founder, David Lewis, knew he had to find a new home, but never thought that he would be so fortunate to sign a lease for the Class A office space in Norwalk where his burgeoning firm expects to move in early August.Lewis will move the headquarters and its 37-member staff from 992 High Ridge Road in Stamford to 535 Connecticut Ave., where it will occupy 7,900 square feet, more than doubling its current space. He signed a seven-year lease.
Human Relations firm OperationsInc will be leaving its offices on High Ridge Road and moving the business to Norwalk.The firm, which provieds outsourced Human Resources services and also operates the job wesbites, will move from a 3,400-square foot space to 7,900 square feet at 535 Connecticut Avenue in Norwalk. This was necessary to accumulate the firm's growth."We could not be happier with the new space and are looking forward to relocating there this August," David Lewis, found and president of OperationsInc, said.
The statistics may slightly vary, but the message is still the same -- Fairfield County's commercial real estate market continues to languish, though there are some reasons for optimism.The Stamford offices of Jones Lang LaSalle and Cushman & Wakefield both said in their first quarter reports that Class A asking rents have increased, but Class A vacancy rates also rose in the quarter.Jones Lang LaSalle reported that Class A rents rose from $35.82 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $37.55 in the first quarter of 2012 -- signaling landlords' improving confidence in the economy, while Cushman & Wakefield reported that Class A rents grew from $35.74 per square foot in the first quarter of 2011 to the current level of $36.57.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., through a subsidiary the new owner of one of Norwalk's Class A office complexes, is emphasizing the building's amenities to help lure new occupants after acquiring it in a foreclosure.MLIC Asset Holdings II LLC, a unit of MetLife, acquired RiverPark at 800 Connecticut Ave., just east of the Darien town line, in February, in a ruling issued by Judge Douglas Mintz in State Superior Court in Stamford against River Park Property Owner LLC and Fifth Street Owner Corp
The administration of Gov. Dannel Malloy has begun some key initiatives to stimulate the state's economy and encourage business growth, but some members of a panel gathered by a Connecticut business association questioned whether it is enough.State Rep. Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, and state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, on the panel organized by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association and the CEO Roundtable that met Tuesday at the NorwalkInn & ConferenceCenter, told an audience of 70 representatives of businesses and non-profit organizations that more needs to be done.
A long-vacant office building that once was an icon in the Stamford central business district seems finally on the verge of having a new owner.Norwalk-based Building and Land Technology is buying the 581,000-square-foot Financial Centre at 695 E. Main St. from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., according to three people familiar with the deal.
A global prepared-foods company is staying in Stamford, moving its headquarters from a West Broad Street building to the Landmark Square complex.Stamford-based Preferred Brands International LLC, parent of Tasty Bite, an international manufacturer Indian and Pan-Asian convenience specialty foods, is moving its headquarters from 9 W. Broad St. to a 5,765-square-foot space at 3 Landmark Square.
Pentegra Retirement Services, a leading provider of retirement products and services, has renewed its existing lease and expanded into a total 34,677 square feet at 108 Corporate Park Drive in White Plains, NY.
Choyce Peterson Inc., a commercial real estate brokerage and consulting firm, has announced it has created a new comparative version of its "silhouette study" to graphically illustrate changes in available office space in the Stamford, Greenwich and Norwalk Class A markets during the past six months. Originally distributed in mid-year 2010, the third study uses comparative graphics for the first time to show changes in the commercial real estate market from December 2010 to June 2011.
Heading into the second half of the year in Greenwich, 10 office buildings have filled their major blocks of available space measuring 10,000 square feet or more, according to an updated report by Choyce Peterson. The Norwalk firm publishes posters semiannually that depict occupancies of Fairfield County buildings on a floor-by-floor basis, providing a snapshot in time of changes from six months earlier.