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Slower Home Sales and Branfordís Commercial Real Estate Market

Every national media outlet from MSNís homepage to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Cable Money Managing shows have been talking about a bursting housing bubble for the past two months. In the fine print, they often mention that the bubble is bursting in very specific locations like Las Vegas, Florida and Arizona, where growth outpaced the rest of the country for years. Location, location, location, itís the real estate mantra as clichť as the poor suckers working on the Glengarry Glen Ross leads in that dingy desperate office. Clichť though it may be, itís true, as true in a slowing market as a hot one. This means that, the market is slowing, but the bubble isnít bursting, the market is correcting itself. Homeowners who bought their shoreline homes three years ago may not be able to paint and replace carpet and flip the house for a twenty percent profit, but that doesnít mean houses arenít appreciating, they just arenít skyrocketing.

Does this affect the commercial real estate market in Branford? The easy answer is that the Commercial real estate market follows the residential market across the board, in all trends, good and bad. But, Branford is uniquely situated among shoreline towns. It is an easy commute to New Haven even in the face of proposed Quinnipiac Bridge construction. The infrastructure of the town, like public sewers, supports small businesses and corporate headquarters as well bioscience endeavors and retail opportunities. Similarly, as in residential real estate markets across the country, Branford is a desired address and, as such, holds its home values. So, C-Level executives will continue to look to bring business closer to their homes and quality of life.

Branfordís retail market is undergoing major changes. Much of them have been delayed by road work, but as I-95 changes around New Haven and Route 1 is finally widened after more than five years in the planning stages at the DOT, the face of retail at exit 53 and the landscape around Walmart and Starbucks will change dramatically with the arrival of national retailers and more. Should the proposed Hilton Garden Hotel and New Shoreline YMCA break ground, there will be more reasons for distributors, warehouse users and manufacturers to locate and remain in Branford. Today, there are at least two major grocers looking for land in town. As national retail outlets, they create buzz and test market, proving that we can support more national retail chains. Each town in New Haven county may experience a different commercial market over the next 18 months, but Branford is poised to grow. Ė Kristin


October 12, 2006


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New Haven's Commercial Real Estate Market. Booming?

Investors, Developers and other believers have been snapping up commercial real estate in New Haven's central business district for several years now. Vacancy is down, construction is on the rise. Office buildings revamped into upscale housing complexes are successful. Restaurants and Retail shops continue to spring up around town, particularly in the Chapel Street, downtown green area, and the boom appears to continue downtown.

Drift a little farther away from the New Haven Green,the New Haven Arts District, The Yale Rep. and Woolsey Hall and the question of the Commercial Real Estate Market becomes cloudier.

According to the latest statistics, crime in New Haven, shooting crimes are down 11% from last quarter, but watching the news or talking to emergency room doctors at Saint Raphael's and Yale New Haven Hospital,one wonders. Where will this trend go? Will shooting crimes continue to drop? Will people continue to feel nervous when a group of kids on bicycles rides by? Will these same fears continue to be a flashpoint for discussions of race and accusations of racism?

New Haven's commercial real estate market is tied to the desirability of the city. Today it is booming. Tomorrow, the Winchester (U.S. Repeating Arms) plant will be on the market. Who will snap it up? A redeveloper looking to extend upscale residential units into areas of the city beyond walking distance of the funky State Street district or, though not far from Yale and the hospitals, outside the traditional Yale walking routes? Will the city redevelop it? Will the New Haven Preservation Trust acquire and maintain it because it's an example of historic architecture and town planning? How are the soils on the site impacted from a hundred years of manufacturing? Will it be the Elm City's next Brooks Drugs outpost or long hoped for Whole Foods?

The Commercial Real Estate Market in New Haven is on the edge of change, watch the next six months unfold: whether the market continues to boom or slows hinges on I-95 roadwork, manufacturers returning to our city and state, crime, the ups and downs of the residential real estate market, perception, promised construction of Gateway and Long Wharf downtown beginning, and of course the ever dwindling parking availability downtown. As parking lots are razed to make way for high schools and more condos, demand will outpace supply to the point where one will wonder, can downtown New Haven boom if people from the suburbs can't move downtown and park their cars, eat or shop downtown unless they take their Segway from the Shoreline or Woodbridge down to Chapel Street. - Kristin


October 3, 2006


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