Cluster of commercial sales on Route 7
The last week of March brought a bonanza of commercial building sales on Danbury Road (Route 7).
Thomas Sheridan, owner of the Sheridan Interiors shop at 198 Danbury Road for the past 30 years, sold his building to 200 Danbury Road LLC. The price was $1,050,000. He said he will move his business to a rented location at 142 Danbury Road.
“The gentleman who bought this also bought the property next door, and we have no idea what his plans are. I don’t think he knows yet either,” said Kerry Sheridan, co-owner of the business. “We’re moving back to the railroad station. We’re not shutting down the business. We’re just moving to a smaller studio. We got an offer we couldn’t refuse, and it was in the back of our minds anyway. We began transitioning the business to our daughter, and this is a big unit, a house and barn and cottage. So when we got the offer we decided it was time to do all this.”
A converted house at 555 Danbury Road, which had been used as a cosmetic surgery center for years, was sold by Grant Hill Properties LLC to 555 Danbury Road LLC for $528,000, and by Frances Sharp Matthesen TR to 555 Danbury Road LLC for $132,000. Zoning application records on file at the town hall annex indicate the building will next become a veterinary care center.
The biggest of the transactions was at 59 Danbury Road, where Caroline Apts Co. sold the building and land to Wilton Properties RSK LLC for $4,350,000.
That’s not the end of it. Also recently sold was the former Hitchcock Furniture store at 22 Danbury Road. The two-story building, on just shy of an acre of land, has sat vacant for 10 years, said Bob Nerney, the town’s planning director. The Planning and Zoning Commission has a new application for the property, from current owners 22 DR LLC, who want to convert the old store into modern offices for Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County, which is headquartered at 761 Main Avenue in Norwalk.
The application is to increase the site coverage in the DRB zone 40% to 50%. It would have 42 parking spaces.
For certain, the month of March showed an uptick in commercial sales in town. From week to week, the list of properties sold in Wilton usually consists of homes and condominiums. It is rare to see as many commercial sales at one time.
In the case of 59 Danbury Road, commercial real estate broker Lee Wilson of Wilson Properties said that to his understanding, it is a fully leased research and development-type building.
As for the Sheridan building, it appears the developer is going to merge the two properties and redevelop the site to a higher and better use, Wilson said. That could potentially be mixed-use retail and apartments.
Wilson did not see any significance in the flurry of commercial building sales. “These buildings have been offered for an extended time period. The interest rates are still quite low, and for people making a long-term commitment, it’s a good time to do it because there might be an increase in long-term rates,” Wilson said.
It’s true that the Federal Reserve decided to raise interest rates, said economist Steven Glazer of Norwalk Community College. With a new chairman, and the economy performing well, the expectation was to see an increase in March, which did come to fruition.
“So businesses want to get in before rates rise and they have to endure higher payments,” Glazer said.
A second reason is the overall successful performance of the economy as economic indicators, for the most part, are up, led by things like gross domestic product for 2017 and the spike in job creation during the month of February, Glazer said.
“This optimism translates into businesses wanting to plant roots,” Glazer said. Businesses expect increased sales and profit, he said, so they are willing to make the investment in real estate, with the continued hope that real estate values will rise, as they have over the past several years.