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NEW HAVEN, CT-In a move that strengthens its presence in the Connecticut commercial real estate sector, Insignia/ESG has opened a regional office in New Haven that is headed by Richard S. Guralnick, CCIM, who has been named managing director of the new office.

Guralnick comes to Insignia/ESG from his own brokerage firm BGI Commercial Realty, which he ran for the past 15 years. Insignia/ESG operates out of the former BGI offices at 234 Church St., in downtown New Haven. The New Haven office will cover the market from the Route 8 corridor in the Shelton area to Central Connecticut, Guralnick tells globest.com. The new regional office will supplement the activities of Insignia’s existing Stamford office, which services Fairfield County and neighboring Westchester County, N.Y.

He notes that the current commercial office market in New Haven is quite healthy, with downtown availability rates for Class A space in the single digits. “In the six to 12 largest downtown office buildings you can’t get any space unless you are looking for 1,000 sf,” he says.

Guralnick adds that this year has been a paradox of sorts. “The first half of 2001 was slow, but the second half was steamrolling and was going gangbusters until September 11. Now, there is a lot of handholding as people wonder what they should do next,” he admits.

In the 18 months prior to joining Insignia/ESG, Guralnick participated in transactions valued at more than $10 million. In addition to directing BGI Commercial Realty’s commercial and investment portfolio and overseeing the acquisition and disposition of properties in Connecticut, New York, Georgia and Florida, he also provided tenant representation services to companies such as: Thoughtware Technologies, Sarah, Inc., Service National Corporation, Beyond Care LLC, Quest Diagnostics and Thornton Medical Communications.

In recent times, he has brokered the sale of the 32,000-sf Twin Lake Commons in North Branford, the 20,000-sf property at 388 East Main St. in Branford, the 17,600-sf 78 Beaver Road building in Wethersfield and the 26,000-sf 341 Christian St. property in Oxford. He also currently represents approximately 375,000 sf of space for sale or lease including properties owned by Business Park Realty and Davie Enterprises.

Insignia/ESG officials note that with the opening of its New Haven office and the addition of Guralnick, it will strengthen its presence in the New Haven region. Prior to the new regional office, Insignia/ESG was involved in a host of Central Connecticut lease deals including: Warnaco Inc.’s 94,600-sf lease at Corporate Campus I in Milford; PerkinElmer’s 247,905-sf mixed-use sublease at 710 Bridgeport Ave., in Shelton, Philips Medical Systems North America’s 75,090-sf lease at 478 Wheelers Farms Road in Milford, Lifecare.com’s 52,409 sf at 2 Armstrong Road in Shelton, Wright Investors Services’ 47,326 sf at 440 Wheelers Farms Road in Milford and Pirelli Tire’s 30,680 sf at 300 George St., in New Haven. The firm has also acted as owner’s agent for 440 Wheelers Farms Road in Milford and 555 Long Wharf Drive in New Haven.

Guralnick says the city has a burgeoning biomedical industry due to the presence of Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital, which alone account for about eight start-ups in the biomedical field each year. In addition, brokers are anxiously awaiting to see what Lyme Properties of Boston plans to propose for the Science Park complex and which developer will be selected to build new product around 900 Chapel St. Currently S.N. Phelps, Ewing Jacobs and Bob Matthews, a local developer are vying for the project. He says several other developers have proposed new construction in the New Haven/Orange area.

Guralnick was CCIM Connecticut Chapter President in the year 2000. He was recently elected CCIM Regional Vice President for New England/New York, and will serve a two-year term beginning this November.

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