Shelbourne Adds To Growing Real Estate Portfolio In Downtown Hartford

Kenneth R. Gosselin

Published On August 21, 2018

HARTFORD, CT — The owner of four downtown office towers added to its holdings in the city this week, acquiring two buildings across from the main entrance to the XL Center arena, a sign that Shelbourne Global Solutions LLC remains upbeat about Hartford’s revitalization.

Shelbourne, of Brooklyn, N.Y., said Tuesday it acquired 99 Pratt and 196 Trumbull streets for $2.35 million with plans to redevelop the structures which wrap around the corner — a step toward further revival on Pratt Street.

While Shelbourne did not disclose details of its plans, it has had discussions with the Capital Region Development Authority about possible funding for a mixed-use project with a residential component, CRDA executive director Michael W. Freimuth said Tuesday.

Shelbourne did say it was exploring mixed-use redevelopment involving a long-standing partner, Upward Hartford.

Upward Hartford is a hub of entrepreneurs and innovators located in 27,500 square feet of co-working space at downtown’s 20 Church Street tower. Four years ago, 20 Church Street was the first property Shelbourne purchased in downtown Hartford.

Upward Hartford was founded in 2017 by Shana Schlossberg, who is the sister of Shelbourne managing member Benjamin Schlossberg.

“The facts on the ground over the past three years have led us to not only believe in Hartford’s future, but to invest in its future,” Michael Seidenfeld, Shelbourne’s chief operating officer, said. “We see Hartford as a city on the cusp of a comeback. The Pratt/Trumbull acquisition will serve as the ignition to energize downtown Hartford.”

Together, the two buildings — constructed in the late 1890s and early 1900s — encompass 115,500 square feet, including 17,500 square feet of storefront space. The Russell restaurant is a prominent tenant in the Pratt Street building.

In the 1990s, a redevelopment proposal included the two buildings in a 22-story hotel and office tower that was never built.

The buildings last sold in 2011 for $1 million, purchased by Trumbull Towers Management LLC, a New York investor. The purchase price was less than one-third of the $3.4 million pegged by the city as the fair market value, as of 2010.

The price paid by Shelbourne is just slightly above the $2 million fair market value listed by the city, as of 2017.

Trumbull Towers Management, the seller, also explored an apartment project and worked with CRDA but a deal did not come together.

In addition to 20 Church, Shelbourne owns 100 Pearl St. and Metro Center. The real estate investment firm also has taken ownership of One Talcott Plaza after paying $3.1 million in back taxes.

Shelbourne plans to demolish One Talcott, whose office space has been vacant for years and its parking garage closed because it was considered unsafe. Initially, Shelbourne will build a new parking garage and in the future there could be mixed-use development on top of the garage.

Seidenfeld said Tuesday Shelbourne expects to arrive at final options for One Talcott within 60 days.