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Sunday, August 18 Business

NYC firm expands Bridgeport spree to Stratford with Frontier buy

Frontier Communications is extending a fire sale of old Southern New England Telephone facilities to Stratford, where it has found a buyer for a motor pool and storage site just off Interstate 95 that totals than 100,000 square feet on nearly 10 acres of land.

In a filing with state regulators, Frontier identified the buyer as a corporate affiliate of Time Equities, the New York City-based real estate investor that earlier this year spent more than $20 million to acquire the sprawling Bridgeport Trade and Technology Center and Bridgeport Innovation Center as part of a larger buying spree in Connecticut’s largest city.

Other Time Equities purchases in Connecticut include the former Marlin Firearms factory on Willow Street in New Haven, with the company having redeveloped it as a loft-style office campus called Marlinworks.

Frontier has been selling off real estate nationally, amassing cash to pay down more than $17 billion in debt coming due in the coming decade. In June, the telecommunications giant took a significant step in that direction in reaching a $1.35 billion agreement to sell territories in four Northwest states to a cable industry entrepreneur.

The company is coming off an historic $5.3 billion loss in the second quarter, the result of continued declines in its subscriber base and Frontier having yet to realize the anticipated benefit of new systems designed to reduce the need to dispatch field crews for service installation and other customer requests.

Frontier will collect $8 million in the sale of the Stratford facility at 1175 Woodend Road, one of several locales in Fairfield and New Haven counties that Frontier has put on the market, with the company getting a 10-year lease on the facility as part of the deal. Frontier has sought sale-leaseback deals that allow it to continue using the sites while the new owners decide how to redevelop the properties.

In Norwalk where Frontier has its corporate headquarters, Spinnaker Real Estate Partners and Fuller Development spent $7.6 million for a Frontier dispatch center just off Westport Avenue, with the developers planning a luxury apartment complex at the site and Frontier having identified a new location for its Norwalk field technicians.

Last month, Frontier listed a Rockwell Road facility in Danbury for sale, hiring the Stamford office of Cushman & Wakefield to solicit buyers for both that property and the Stratford facility.

Located just off Lordship Boulevard, the Frontier facility was constructed in 1972 with the property appraised last year by the city at $8.1 million and generating taxes of about $220,000 for the city. The industrial neighborhood has seen multiple smaller deals in the past year, including the $1.1 million sale last month of a Woodend Road outlet for Bobcat of Connecticut, the largest commercial property sale to date this year in Stratford.

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The Frontier sale will easily eclipse that, with the deal subject to the approval of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Includes prior reporting by Jordan Grice, Kelly Kultys and Mary O’Leary.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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