After purchasing the downtown office building at 129 Church St. for $6.9 million earlier this month, MOD Equities is beginning renovations to restore qualities of the original building.
Jacob Feldman of MOD Equities said that the building will continue to house its current tenants — which include NBC News, Chick-Lets Organic Grill and The Urban Design League — and that he hopes to attract younger businesses and startups to the downtown office space. He added that he intends to create a collaborative workspace complete with a conference room.
“It’s a nice starting spot for small businesses who are not ready for a large space,” Feldman said. “We’re going to dust it off to find some of the original details of the building.”
The 89,625 square-foot Church Street building, which was originally built in 1912, is set to be refurnished to restore some of the buildings original details. Feldman said that wood floors, molding work and brass detailing are among some of the aspects that he hopes to restore.
MOD Equities is a New Haven-based real estate firm that has purchased properties in downtown New Haven, Wooster Square and East Rock in recent years, including 11 apartment buildings.
According to the New Haven Independent, Frank D’Ostilio of Real Living Wareck D’Ostilio Real Estate, who represented the buyers in the sale of 129 Church, said that the building is currently at least 90 percent occupied.
City Economic Development Administrator Matt Nemerson SOM ’81 said that although the building has been largely ignored by developers for the past several years, the high selling price of the building demonstrates its potential. He commented on the building’s aesthetic features, including its frosted glass.
“We like our developers to feel like they are getting a good return on their investment,” Nemerson said. “The high value per square foot gives people confidence in the market.”
The former owner of the building, JMJ Services Inc., purchased the building in 1993 for $450,000, the New Haven Independent reported. Since then, the building’s value has increased 15 times over.
City Hall spokesperson Laurence Grotheer said that the increased value of the property indicates that downtown is becoming a more attractive spot for prospective buyers. He added that city officials are “working to enhance public parking options and public transportation systems to accommodate continuing growth in the downtown area.”
Crystal Rose, manager at the branch of Chipotle located at 910 Chapel St., said that the increased traffic that could result from having new tenants in the 129 Church St. building would be an asset to all downtown businesses.
Feldman said that he intends for the space to remain a downtown center and hopes to attract new tenants with the aesthetic updates. He added that the building’s central location and proximity to City Hall will likely attract attorneys and other professionals to the building.