Top-drawer boom on Greenwich Avenue

By Crystal Kang

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A rendering of a new mixed-used building at 376 Greenwich Ave. A rendering of a new mixed-used building at 376 Greenwich Ave.

Always upscale and always a global shopping mecca, in the past five years Greenwich Avenue has upped its appeal with second- and third-floor projects.

Marcia O’Kane, executive director of the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, said there has been an influx of second-floor occupancy as developers look to maximize space available for tenants by building up instead of out.

One such developer, Laraco 376 L.L.C., purchased the property at 376-380 Greenwich Ave. in December 2012. Six months later, it tore down the 4,000-square-foot, 150-year-old building, whose main tenant was Pizza Factory, and erected a 12,300-square-foot, multimillion-dollar mixed-used building in its place.

“The property was underdeveloped, old and tired,” said Tom Torelli, partner at Laraco. “We decided to turn it into a much nicer upscale building, which will include more commercial tenants and residential tenants, all of which brings more commerce to central Greenwich.”

Fast-forward a year, and three businesses have signed leases with plans to move into the three-story building at 376 Greenwich Ave. by Sept. 1. The new tenants include Becker Chicaiza, who is moving Becker Salon from Mason Street to the second floor of the new building; Sivik Global Health Care, a hedge fund company that will take up the back portion of the second floor; and a well-known restaurateur, according to Torelli, who will open a restaurant on the street level. Torelli said he couldn’t disclose the name of the restaurant tenant yet. A tenant also has leased the third floor, which will have one 4,000-square-foot apartment topped by a small rooftop terrace, he added.

“All the spaces have been brought to rough construction, which means all the rough plumbing and electric work is done,” Torelli said. “We don’t have an elevator in the building yet. That’s usually the last thing that goes in. We’re ready to have the tenants finish out the space with things like marble floors, a bar and the finishes for the walls.”

Nationally, Greenwich Avenue is known as one of the most coveted retail hotspots for developers and business owners alike, Torelli said. He added the location is comparable to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Main Street in Westport.

“In the really good markets like Westport, Darien, Fairfield and Greeenwich, there aren’t many sites to be purchased or developed, so when one becomes available you assess it on the merits of the project,” Torelli said. “Greenwich Avenue is an excellent long-term play because it’s considered to be one of the top 10 street retail districts in the country.”

The construction and acquisition cost is estimated to total $10 million, Torelli said. Torelli, a managing partner of Allied Property Group, a brokerage and management and development firm that is a partner of Laraco 376, said Allied manages 14 properties in Greenwich that are worth more than $125 million.

The mixed-used building construction is the first development project under Laraco 376.

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About the author

Crystal Kang
Crystal Kang, a Chicago native, is former a reporter for the Fairfield and Westchester business journals. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and her work has appeared in news outlets including CNBC.com, Allstate Corporation’s investor relations website, and an NPR-based radio station in Urbana, Ill.

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