MERIDEN – A New Haven-based partnership was the top bidder at $ 250,000 in a bankruptcy auction for two buildings, 9-11 and 13-17 Colony St. on Wednesday.
Mendel Paris, founder of Havn Ventures, and Johnny Grunblatt of Malbec Enterprises LLC were among four bidders who attended the bankruptcy auction behind the properties on Railroad Avenue. City Manager Timothy Coon and Director of Economic Development Joseph Feest were also in attendance.
The court-approved bankruptcy sale was made easier to drop a foreclosure action the city has brought against landowner CBD Colony St. LLC for approximately $ 96,000 in back taxes and liens owed on the properties.
Paris and Grunblatt’s offer must be approved by the city and choosing the right bankruptcy attorney court before it can be finalized, according to Oren Klein of AuctionAdvisors. The auctioneers will receive 10 percent of the final bid to market the buildings to regional investors ahead of Wednesday’s auction.
Paris and Grunblatt are no strangers to Meriden. They recently purchased 51 Colony St., 1-3 Colony St. and 21-23 Colony St. and if approved they will own a significant row of downtown properties.
Downtown owner and member of the Meriden Planning Commission Ross Gulino, owner of 5 Colony Street, upped the bid on the 9-11 and 13-17 Colony at Wednesday’s auction of 200 $ 000 to $ 230,000. Paris and Grunblatt outbid Gulino to $ 250,000.
The auctioneers did not appraise the buildings, but court documents put it at $ 300,000. The City’s appraisals are over $ 400,000 for the two buildings.
âWe want to make multi-family units,â Paris said after the auction. âThe city wants more units here. We are still in discussions with the city and are working with an architect to do a feasibility study on commercial uses. We want to bring some life to the hallway here.
Paris has said the city is going through a development transformation, but for some reason Colony Street has been overlooked.
“It was begging someone to do it,” he said. âIt’s too small for a bigger developer. As a mid-sized developer, we’ve done projects like this before.
Grunblatt is also excited about the Meriden project and the restoration of historic buildings.
âWe are going to bring Colony Street back to life,â said Grunblatt. âSome of the buildings here are beautiful and historic. You have the beautiful new station and the beautiful Green. With the updates and the new management, it will be good.
Feest, the director of economic development, said he was pleased with the interest shown at the auction and spoke with Paris and Grunblatt about their plans.
âThe downtown area has been ripe for redevelopment for a long time,â Feest said. “This is hopefully the turn that we can take and see some good moves and get things done.”
But Feest also encouraged residents to recognize some of the downtown success stories, such as the La Poblanita grocery store, the downtown cafe, and other small businesses on the West Main Street.
âDo we have more to do? Yes, but it has come a long way compared to what it was before, âhe said.
A bankruptcy court hearing to approve or reject the top bidder is expected later this month.
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