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February 1, 2016 Deal Watch

American Freight Furniture bows in S. Windsor

PHOTO | HBJ File Former Broadcast House site downtown.
PHOTO | Contributed 522 Cottage Grove Road, Bloomfield.

American Freight Furniture and Mattress has opened its second central Connecticut discount warehouse store in South Windsor.

Set to debut last Friday, the 22,000-square-foot store at 1315 John Fitch Blvd. — formerly home to Nassau Furniture — stocks a wide selection of furniture and bedding picked up from factory closeouts, retailer buyouts, dealer cancellations and others, according to the 22-year-old Delaware, Ohio, retailer's homepage.

The South Windsor location will employ up to 10 workers, spokeswoman Lauren Fleming said. Bryant Horton is the store's manager.

American Freight's other Connecticut store is at 1930 Silas Deane Highway in Rocky Hill. The retailer has 118 stores nationwide.

“We are open-minded about opening more stores in Connecticut,” Fleming said via email. “We may look to open one more store, but not sure about the location.”

AI’s Hfd. project on hold

Middletown engineer-developer Abul Islam has put a hold on his ambitious plan to erect a 48-unit, 10-story apartment/retail building on the former Broadcast House site in downtown Hartford's Constitution Plaza.

“I wouldn't say dead,'' AI Engineers Inc. General Counsel Michael Patenaude said in response to a query about the previously estimated $17.7 million project's status. “The project is still there. We are working on it.''

Patenaude blamed greater-than-expected financing and construction costs for indefinitely sidelining the development.

He said Islam and officials with the Capital Region Development Authority agreed that the quasi-public agency's previous funding commitment for $4.2 million toward development of the apartment tower would be distributed to other regional development projects. However, the door remains open for Islam to renew his funding request, Patenaude said.

AI Engineers officials were due to meet with Hartford's mayor late last week, he said, to discuss options for the 0.55-acre site at 200 State St. The city had pledged nearly $1 million to the project.

Among the project options, Patenaude said, is continuing with the original apartment development plan for the site, or possibly erecting a dormitory to house UConn or other college students downtown. UConn is moving its West Hartford campus to downtown in 2017.

In addition, University of St. Joseph and Capital Community College have center-city campuses, and, eventually, so will Trinity College, which bought and is renovating the former Travelers Education Building in Constitution Plaza.

Islam in December 2008 originally aired his plan for a $40 million, 13-story office tower to house his and other businesses, plus retail. A year later, he submitted revised plans calling for a 15-story, $53 million primarily residential tower that would add 195 affordable and market-rate rental units in the heart of downtown.

E. Windsor price cut

A vacant industrial building for sale in East Windsor is still on the market but at a reduced price of $649,000, down from $750,000, brokers say.

The 17,680-square-foot building on 1.84 acres at 54 Newberry Road has a 1,000-amp power supply, and a combination ground-level and dock-height door.

Hartford's Sentry Commercial is listing broker.

New England Scaffolding renews

New England Scaffolding Inc. renewed its 10,000-square-foot industrial lease at 522 Cottage Grove Road in Bloomfield.

Kinneret Associates L.P. owns the 64,000-square-foot industrial complex on 22.3 acres.

Sentry Commercial was sole broker.

Cutter Enterprises adds Vernon space

Municipal construction manager-general contractor Cutter Enterprises LLC has expanded into Vernon Industrial Place, to house a new business venture. 

Cutter now occupies 12,000 square feet of the six-acre multi-tenant industrial facility at 77 Industrial Park Road. Details about Cutter's new venture could not be immediately obtained.

Cutter's construction management and general contracting operations remain housed just down the road, at 105 Industrial Park Road.

The Mel-Pet Realty Co. owns Vernon Industrial Place.

Sentry Commercial was the sole broker in this transaction.

Deal Watch wants to hear from you. E-mail it, along with contact information to:

Gregory Seay is the Hartford Business Journal News Editor.

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