A few weeks after the largest office building in southwestern Connecticut landed a new owner, the Bridgeport area’s biggest available building has been sold to a pair of local developers who plan to prepare it for conversion into a senior housing community for as many as 500 residents or more.
Senior Living Development and Silver Heights Development paid $3.3 million for the former headquarters of Oxford Health Plans at 48 Monroe Turnpike in Trumbull, in a deal brokered by the Stamford office of Cushman & Wakefield of Connecticut.
The town of Trumbull had last appraised the building at $16.5 million, with Bank of America having assumed ownership in May 2017 from a limited partnership called RVW listing an address in Westport, according to town and state records.
It was the region’s second major sales transaction in the past few weeks, with Danbury’s massive Matrix Corporate Center sold to Westport-based Summit Development, as first reported in August by Hearst Connecticut Media.
The new Trumbull owners plan to create some 360 units of housing in two structures, to include a memory care suite for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Senior Living Development principal Mark De Pecol told Hearst Connecticut Media on Thursday the conversion would require a zoning change by the town of Trumbull.
“The town has been very helpful (and) supportive,” De Pecol said Thursday. “There’s been a trend nationally to convert offices to residential, because they are losing their tenants.”
From offices in Norwalk and Westport, De Pecol’s firm has initiated multiple other projects locally including Sunrise of Wilton on Danbury Road and The Residence at Selleck’s Woods on Parklands Drive in Darien, operating on a model of getting projects designed and approved and then bringing in fresh developers to lead construction and operate communities. De Pecol expressed a goal of getting the Trumbull community built in less than three years.
Under principals Tommy Haendler and Seth Greenwald, Westport-based Silver Heights Development has focused to date on upscale subdivisions in Norwalk and Greenwich, also purchasing this summer the Darien Crossing office complex on the Boston Post Road near the Norwalk border.
The Oxford Health Plans subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare had its main local office at 48 Monroe Turnpike until 2015, when it relocated more than 1,000 employees to Shelton. In December 2015, a New York City entity called Madison Hawk Partners had run an auction on the 250,000-square-foot building, which has been vacant since with weeds choking unchecked the parking lot and landscaping as of early September.
With no early takers as an office destination, brokers had explored positioning 48 Monroe Turnpike for redevelopment as a retail or residential center. The building sits on nearly 18 acres of land just east of the Route 111 junction where Route 25 transitions from a highway to a local road, with that portion of Trumbull having seen extensive retail development including a Home Depot on the hill above 48 Monroe Turnpike.
“We are extremely pleased that this vacant and underperforming site has been purchased and will be redeveloped,” First Selectman Vicki Tesoro said in a news release. “The proposal will provide opportunities for our senior community so they can stay right here in Trumbull and continue to contribute to our community.”
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman