HARTFORD, CT-CB Richard Ellis reports it has brokered the largest local Downtown office building sale in the past 15 years with Harbor Group International’s $66 million acquisition of State House Square from Aetna Life Insurance Co.

State House Square is a 844,813-sf office complex located across from the Old State House. Constructed in 1987, the building features a 25,000-sf food court, Morton’s Steak House, a fully-equipped 48,000-sf health club, and a 450-car underground parking garage, as well as a variety of retail shops and amenities ranging from dry-cleaning to shoe-shine service.

John McCormick and Pat Mulready from the local office of CB Richard Ellis and Jeff Dunne, who heads CBRE’s New York Tri-State Investment Team, were the exclusive investment advisors for Aetna in the sale and also procured the buyer.

This is the largest office building sale transaction, in terms of both square footage and price, within the Hartford Central Business District in the last 15 years, CBRE officials note. <P<Officials with the brokerage firm relate that there was significant interest in the property, from both regional and national investors.

“State House Square attracted over 12 bids from national investors during the marketing process. The high quality construction, strong tenant roster, and the property’s strategic location within the Capitol City of Connecticut was paramount to the buyer’s interest,” McCormick says. “Another determining factor was the current market stability and increased capital investment in such projects as Adriaen’s Landing, three downtown residential developments and the pending charter reform within the City of Hartford.”

He adds, “The successful sale of State House Square to Harbor Group International illustrates that high quality real estate with strong tenancies is highly sought after as an investment vehicle, and perhaps more importantly, that Hartford is becoming more and more attractive to investors from outside the market.”

Harbor Group International is a Virginia-based investment group with more than $800 million in assets in 15 states. The company currently owns 11 million sf of office, retail and multi-family properties in three countries.

Commenting on its latest acquisition, Harbor Group International chairman and CEO Jordan E. Slone, says, “The acquisition of State House Square is a key component of our strategy. Like other class A Central Business District office properties we have purchased, it is a prominent landmark anchored by a strong tenant base on long-term leases.”

Major tenants at State House Square include: Travelers Indemnity Corp., ING Aeltus Investment Management, Advest Group Inc., Hilb Rogal & Hamilton, Connecticut Natural Gas Corp. and UBS PaineWebber Inc.

Harbor Group International has previously acquired a number of major downtown properties such as: Wachovia Tower in Baltimore, Sun Trust Center and First Virginia Tower in Norfolk, National City Center in Indianapolis and PNC Center in Cincinnati.

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