January 24, 2019
Deal Watch Today

LAZ Parking eyes Hartford's 'Gold' Building as new HQ

HBJ File Photo
HBJ File Photo
LAZ Parking CEO Alan Lazowski.
HBJ File Photo
Gold Building in downtown Hartford.

Hartford parking magnate Alan Lazowski and another major downtown landlord are pursuing ownership of The Gold Building, the city's most iconic and recognizable skyscraper to house his expanding parking enterprise and as a long-term investment.

Founder and CEO of LAZ Parking, Lazowski confirmed Thursday that he and another sizable downtown landlord, Shelbourne Global Solutions LLC, are co-partners in their bid to buy the 26-story, glass-sheathed tower, known as One Financial Plaza, 755 Main St., from Talcott Realty Investors.

In addition, the approximately 660,000-square-foot building's adjoining, 1,140-space parking garage fronting on Pearl Street would be part of the deal, he said.

If The Gold deal is consummated, Lazowski indicated it may also open the door to his emergence as a downtown apartment landlord. He said he is considering whether to add LAZ Parking's current headquarters at 15 Lewis St. to the wave of office space-to-apartments conversions already underway in downtown.

Lazowski declined to say how much the partnership is offering for The Gold, which, according to city records, last sold in 2000 to current owner Talcott Realty Investors for $59.64 million. Online city assessment records list the total value of The Gold and its parking garage at $64.1 million.

He said his investment partnership holds a purchase-option for the tower, and that inspections of the building's structure, mechanical and other systems, and other due diligence remain underway. He offered no timetable for when, or if, a sale could be consummated.

"We need the space,'' Lazowski said of LAZ Parking, a nationwide owner-operator of public and private parking infrastructure that he launched in the '80s while a West Hartford teen.

LAZ occupies several floors of 15 Lewis St., a five-story office building Lazowski owns overlooking Bushnell Park. The Hartford Business Journal is also a tenant.

The opportunity to own a such a signature property, one that is all but fully leased, was just too good to pass up, Lazowski said.

"We think it's one of the best buildings in Hartford. It's just a wonderful building,'' he said.

Travelers Cos. is The Gold's biggest tenant, he said, having increased its office footprint in the tower erected in 1981 as a former lead tenant, United Technologies Corp., began shrinking its presence there in recent years.

In 2015, UTC relocated its headquarters from The Gold and downtown Hartford to a suburban office park in Farmington.

Last year, Virtus Investments relocated its headquarters from 100 Pearl St., one block away, to The Gold under a multiyear lease. Last June, New York adviser Global Atlantic Financial Group relocated its suburban Simsbury office and 85 workers to One Financial Plaza.

Gold's owner Talcott Realty Advisors did not respond to calls for comment. The Gold's leasing broker Andrew Filler, of Avison Young, declined comment.

Shelbourne Global, which owns downtown Hartford's Stilts Building, 20 Church St. and 100 Pearl St., did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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