Waterfront Westport complex sold for $17.5M
A Greenwich investor has purchased Westport’s National Hall, a distinctive group of commercial buildings overlooking the Saugatuck River across from the heart of downtown.
Greenfield Partners sold National Hall for $17.5 million, with town records identifying the buyer as a set of limited liability companies controlled by Jose Gonzalez-Navarro, who runs a small financial securities brokerage called GWM Group in Greenwich where he lives.
National Hall is dominated by 2 Post Road West, a three-story brick edifice dating to 1850, with the complex including four smaller buildings and a parking garage on Wilton Road. A mix of businesses have offices in the complex, along with a trio of eateries: Bartaco, Oko Kitchen and Meatball Shop, which opened only in June.
Under founding partner Gene Gorab, Greenfield Partners moved its own office to the main National Hall building after acquiring the complex in 2010, ending its 16-year run as an inn. Previously working for the real estate investment firm Starwood Capital, Gorub created Greenfield in 1997 and has since invested some $4 billion.
Greenfield listed National Hall for sale more than a year ago, retaining the capital markets group of Cushman & Wakefield to find a buyer. A Greenfield representative did not respond immediately Tuesday to a Hearst Connecticut Media query on details behind the decision to sell National Hall.
Gonzalez could not be reached Tuesday to answer questions about whether he leads or otherwise represents a larger syndicate of investors in National Hall. GWM listed assets of $500,000 at the end of last year according to a Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The firm is on the cusp of launching a new platform called FlexInvest Securities designed to allow investors to purchase fractional shares of stock and exchange-traded funds.
The National Hall deal comes on the heels of the $30 million sale of the 8-10 Wright St. offices on a hillside overlooking National Hall and the Saugatuck, five years after it was purchased by Marcus Partners which invested $5 million in upgrades. Buyer Waterway Family Funds is based in Boston, with the company formed by the combination of Bostonia Global Securities and a commercial real estate finance team of William Blair.
Westport had close to 200,000 square feet of available office space as of June, according to the Stamford office of Cushman & Wakefield, representing about 15 percent of the market and with landlords asking about $41 a square foot in rent, excluding kickers like introductory months of free rent to lure tenants.
Next door to National Hall, the new Bankside at National Hall offices are fully leased under developer David Adam Realty at the site of the former headquarters of Save the Children which relocated to Fairfield after its offices were inundated as a result of the 2012 storm Sandy.
Other major Westport sales in the past year-plus include JEM Holdings’ $32.6 million buy of the Offices at Greens Farms, and Maplewood Healthcare acquiring the One Gorham Island offices across the water from National Hall for $22 million. And CBRE is leading the conversion of the former 55 Post Road W.
“These sales illustrate the relative attractiveness of the Westport market to the surrounding area,” said Tom Pajolek, a CBRE broker whose listings for leased office space include 55 Post Road West. “Westport offers a boutique environment with access to Metro-North, major highways, beaches, great schools and waterfront living.”
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman