Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

May 31, 2021 Deal Watch Today

Developer Rabinowitz unloads downtown Hartford apartments, offices for $7M

CoStar The “Grand on Ann” apartments at 201 Ann Uccello St.

A major New Haven apartment landlord is shifting its gaze northward to Hartford, paying nearly $7.1 million for two downtown properties one block apart that have both struggled with high vacancy.

Land records show that in mid-May, Greater Hartford developer-landlord Yisroel Rabinowitz sold the “Grand on Ann” apartments at 201 Ann Uccello St. for $3.15 million and the former High School Inc. building at 275 Asylum St. for $3.915 million.

Two separate LLCs bought the properties, but each is linked to New Haven-based Ocean Management and its principal Shmuel Aizenberg, records show.

It wasn’t immediately clear what plans Ocean may have for filling its newly purchased buildings with more tenants. The company owns a mix of approximately 20 multifamily and office properties in and around New Haven, according to property records.

Its holdings there have grown quickly in recent years, taking over about 100 apartments from a “notorious slumlord” in 2016 and buying a portfolio of six commercial properties in 2019, according to reporting by the New Haven Independent.

At Ocean’s newly purchased five-story, 34,000-square-foot Asylum Street property in Hartford, High School Inc. had been the primary tenant for years, but Hartford education officials, citing tight finances, opted to leave the building several years ago and relocate the school to the newly constructed Weaver High.

275 Asylum St. in Hartford

Rabinowitz, who bought 275 Asylum in 2016 for just over $3 million, did not respond to a request for comment on his freshly sold properties.

The Grand, which contains 26 one-bedroom apartments in a former Masonic Temple converted in 2014 with the help of $3.8 million in financing from the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), began struggling early in the COVID-19 pandemic last year as a number of its tenants left for their home countries.

An apartment unit at The Grand

The Grand’s occupancy rate plunged and has remained well below pre-pandemic levels since.  CRDA agreed last fall to defer six months of interest payments as Rabinowitz tried to stabilize the property, but The Grand’s occupancy rate was hovering around just 35% in January when Berkshire Bank, which had provided a mortgage to Rabinowitz property, opted to initiate foreclosure proceedings in Connecticut Superior Court.

On May 13, the same day the sale of The Grand to SAP RE Holdings LLC was recorded in official land records, Berkshire withdrew its foreclosure complaint, according to court filings.

CRDA has also been made whole as a result of the sale, receiving the approximately $750,000 balance that remained on its loan to Rabinowitz.

That loan, which closed In 2013, made The Grand the first apartment project to be backed by CRDA. The quasi-public agency has added many more since.

CRDA’s apartment portfolio now spans approximately 25 properties, the majority of them downtown, totaling nearly 2,200 units built or in the pipeline.

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF