With Bridgeport’s office space market essentially flat, Avison Young is getting creative in its pitches to potential tenants for 1000 Lafayette Blvd.
The Norwalk commercial real estate services firm, is touting the property’s available office space — ranging from 2,100 square feet to a full floor of approximately 23,000 square feet — as something “that reduces commuting stress and offers varied amenities.”
“It’s a rare building for Bridgeport,” said Christopher Grundy, a senior associate at Avison Young’s Fairfield/Westchester office in Stamford, which represents building owner Shelbourne Global Solutions LLC.
“There are really only a couple of Class A buildings in downtown Bridgeport. But there’s a growing number of great features and activities in the area that make it very attractive.”
Indeed, the city’s Steelepointe Harbor — a 2.8 million-square-foot waterfront development whose first phase of construction is scheduled to be completed this fall — promises residential, restaurant, retail and commercial uses along with plenty of open space and entertainment options.
Apartment complex Cherry Street Lofts, which also will encompass the Great Oaks charter school, has begun leasing units. And the redevelopment of the Downtown North neighborhood, after a number of sporadic starts and stops, is continuing. It’s all part of what Mayor Joe Ganim called “$1 billion worth of new investments” in Bridgeport during his remarks at the recent groundbreaking for its Harbor Yard Amphitheater.
All of which may be exciting — but what about office space?
“When it comes to Bridgeport, there is sufficient existing available office space in cities like Stamford, Norwalk and Stratford,” said Christian Bangert, executive vice president and partner at RHYS in Stamford.
“Even though office vacancy rates in Fairfield County are now lower than they have been in a while, there is still enough existing office space, as well as factories and red-brick properties that can be repurposed or reused as office, residential or retail on the ground/office and residential above” in those other cities, he said.
With Stamford, Bangert noted, “You’re close to the train station and highway access, which is valuable for larger companies looking at a number of employees commuting from New York City.”
Bridgeport also has a Metro-North presence, of course, but while the Stamford-to-Grand Central trip usually takes a little more than an hour, the same trek from Bridgeport can take 90 minutes or more.
“The transportation to Bridgeport is easy,” Grundy insisted. “It’s really simple to take public transportation to downtown, and it’s safe to walk.”
Safety plays an important part in marketing 1000 Lafayette; it is, after all, the location of an FBI office. “There’s fantastic, 24/7 security there,” Grundy said.
Other tenants include law firms Ryan Ryan & Deluca and Zeldes Needle Cooper, along with engineering consulting group COWI North America and White Rose Hoe Healthcare Agency.
Avison Young further touts the number of restaurants, brew houses, museums, comedy clubs, theaters, shopping, transportation and a library near 1000 Lafayette, as well as McLevy Green, which offers concerts, festivals and a farmers market during the summer, and the Housatonic Museum of Art at 900 Lafayette.
“Downtown Bridgeport has as much to offer to businesses as any other town in Fairfield County,” said Avison Young Vice President Lori Baker. “There are always things going on and a lot for employees to do.”
As for amenities, Grundy said the building includes a complimentary fitness facility with lockers and showers, conference facilities, covered parking, banking, dry cleaning and a café that offers catering.
Tenants will find four parking spaces, rather than the usual two or three, per 1,000 square feet of leased space, he said.
Nevertheless, Grundy said, Avison Young has no other Class A office properties in Bridgeport at this time — a couple of deals may be announced in the coming weeks, he said — while Building and Land Technology, a major real estate player in surrounding cities, has no office presence in Connecticut’s most populous municipality.