Processing Your Payment

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

March 9, 2023

Expanding real estate investor has high hopes for apartments in former Hartford hotel

Michael Puffer Shlomo "Sam" Sarot and a partner recently paid $3.97 million for the 28-unit apartment building at 385 Main St. in Hartford.

One of the new owners of a 19th-century, Gothic Victorian-style brick apartment building near Hartford’s Bushnell Park said he plans extensive renovations to the former hotel property.

“It’s not going to be cheap and I’m fine with that because I see potential,” said Shlomo “Sam” Sarot, a principal investor in the recent $3.97-million purchase of the roughly 160-year-old building at 385 Main St.

Sarot heads one of two limited liability companies, both based in New York, that bought equal shares of the former five-story Hotel Capitol, which was long ago converted to 28 apartments with three ground-floor storefronts. 

Attorney Alexander Shulman, a friend and neighbor of Sarot’s from Long Island, is the other co-owner

Sarot said he expects to spend at least $200,000 in the short term fixing the parking lot, front façade and lobby at 385 Main St. Next, he plans to fix common areas floor by floor, replacing dated, purple-hued hallway carpets, straightening time-worn stairway landings and redecorating. Each apartment will be remodeled as it is vacated. Sarot said he is still hashing out the budget estimate.

Sarot has hired Glastonbury interior design studio Artegriz to plan the look. Danielli Franquim, principal of Artegriz, said the plan is to modernize elements of the building while keeping its historic charm, including elements like the caged elevator.

Sarot is a friend of prolific multifamily developer Avner Krohn and got his introduction to Connecticut helping Krohn organize investors for projects in downtown New Britain. Sarot said he’d like to have a similar transformative impact on downtown Hartford and is eying additional properties.

Sarot said his investment in the Hotel Capitol property has already prompted additional interest, with investor friends calling to inquire about nearby opportunities.

“They are showing interest even before I’ve proven anything,” Sarot said.

contributed ARTEGRIZ
Rendering of planned upgrade for 385 Main St., Hartford




Sarot said his broker, Eric Pentore, with Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, brought the Hotel Capitol property to his attention. 

The building has had other ambitious suitors in the past. 

In 1998, it was acquired for $630,000 by then-Aetna Chairman Richard Huber and hotel consultant Suzanne Hopgood, according to the Hartford Courant.

Huber, at the time, expressed his confidence in Hartford’s improving economic outlook. Hopgood -- who would later become board chair of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), a quasi-public agency that has helped subsidize thousands of new market-rate apartments in downtown Hartford over the past decade -- talked of “spiffing up” the interior, according to the Courant.

Sarot’s investment does come with some nearby momentum. A couple blocks to the west, the city and CRDA are working to redevelop 12 acres of underused parking lots into a mixed-use neighborhood of 1,800 residents with retail, arts and cultural offerings.

CRDA is currently working to lock-in New Jersey developer The Michaels Organization for the first phase of the project, dubbed “Bushnell South.”
Michaels’ tentative proposal includes 360 apartments and 2,500 square feet of retail space on a 2.8-acre site at 165 Capitol Ave., with development costs estimated at $129.6 million.

Meantime, Spinnaker Real Estate Partners is converting the nearby former state office building at 55 Elm St. into 164 apartments.

Higher ambitions

Sarot, 36, said he got his start in the industry via single-family home construction around Long Island, later moving into real estate management and multifamily property investment.

In July, Sarot paid $900,000 for a 62-year-old, roughly 18,000-square-foot office building on Farmington Avenue, near the West Hartford border. The building is largely geared toward medical offices. Sarot took one office for the local headquarters of his real estate investment business Zenith Equity Group.

Sarot, 36, began investing in Connecticut in 2021 with the $2 million purchase of 19 condos in a 160-unit West Hartford complex. Today, Sarot controls 32 of those units and would eventually like to buy the remainder. Sarot said he is also currently planning a 32-unit redevelopment of a New Britain building and is working to close on the property.  

Sarot has acquired several smaller apartment buildings in Vernon with ambitions to tackle increasingly larger projects. Sarot said he currently owns 130 to 140 apartment units in Connecticut, with deals in the works to acquire more. Ten of his units are currently renting through short-term online rental company Airbnb.

That business has worked so well, Sarot said he is contemplating using it to rent some portion of 385 Main St. He would, however, have to secure a special permit from local land-use officials before doing so.

For now, however, Sarot is focused on cleaning up the building and repairing the parking lot, all of which will help 385 Main St. command higher rents.

“I have done it in other places,” Sarot said. “If you change the face of a building it changes the feeling of the place.” 

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF