Hartford, CT — Upping the ante on office tenant amenities in downtown Hartford, the owner of the 100 Pearl St. tower plans to create a golf-themed lobby with virtual golf simulator, putting green and bleacher seating with Wi-Fi as part of up to $10 million in renovations.
Shelbourne Global Solutions LLC said Friday the renovations, which will begin this fall, also will include a new cafe opening onto the corner of Pearl and Trumbull streets and be open to the public.
The cafe will open as a “pop-up” restaurant starting Tuesday, and it will later be replaced with a permanent establishment, Shelbourne said.
Since 2014, New York-based Shelbourne has acquired 100 Pearl St. and three other major downtown office towers and is part of a partnership with plans to redevelop the south side of Pratt Street corridor, where Shelbourne also has acquired properties.
“Hartford is a city on the rise, with technology, innovation and creativity driving its resurgence,” Michael Seidenfeld, Shelbourne’s chief operating officer, said, in a release. “...100 Pearl Street is perfectly positioned to be a home for forward thinking, like-minded companies and corporations.”
Shelbourne is promoting the idea of a “live, work, play” district downtown geared towards 21st century entrepreneurs and innovators and the millennial workforce.
A block away to the north, Shelbourne owns 196 Trumbull which being converted to housing for start-up companies at Upward Hartford. Upward Hartford is located in another Shelbourne office tower, 20 Church St., the “Stilts Building.”
The plans for 100 Pearl also reflect a industry trend of office landlords better using common spaces. Once viewed as merely “pass through” areas, they are being outfitted into areas where workers -- particularly younger ones -- can work in non-traditional office spaces. Those types of spaces also are figuring largely into tenant decisions on where to lease space.
The strategy by landlords to offer new and different amenities also taps into the market for smaller companies that are focusing on innovation and data analytics, and not just larger corporations.
The city has made some strides attracting companies focused on technology and innovation. India-based Infosys plans to hire 1,000 workers and two weeks ago, New Jersey-based GalaxE.Solutions opened a tech innovation center at 20 Church announcing plans to hire “multi-hundreds” of workers.
The Pearl Street office building, dating to 1989, has two portions, a 17-story, high-rise tower which incorporates the facade of the old Mechanics Savings Bank and a low-rise section at the corner of Pearl and Trumbull.
Shelbourne, the largest downtown Class A office landlord, is investing in new amenities as it seeks to lease a significant portion of the building after losing Virtus Investment Partners to One Financial Plaza, the “Gold Building” last year.
Subsequently, Shelbourne partnered with LAZ Investments, a partner of Hartford-based parking giant LAZ Parking, to purchase the Gold Building.
Class A space has the most up-to-date technology, floor plans and amenities.
The 281,000-square-foot office building at 100 Pearl has about 100,000 square feet available, or 35 percent.
According to commercial real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield, Class A vacancies in Hartford’s central business district as of June 30 were 14 percent, down slightly from 14.9 percent a year earlier. Commercial real estate broker CBRE-NE shows a higher, Class A vacancy as of June 30, at 17.4 percent, reflecting a slightly different survey of downtown buildings.
Andrew Filler, a broker with Avison Young in Hartford, is representing the building.
The golf-themed amenities will be located in the space now occupied by the 100 Pearl art gallery, which will be relocated.
The renovations also include future makeovers of conferencing space, the building’s fitness center and making space ready for newly signed tenants.