Yale University and Simon Konover Jointly Acquire Whitney Grove Square Office Building and Adjoining Shops

In a collaboration that ensured a key New Haven building would remain under local ownership, Yale University and real estate developer Simon Konover have acquired the Whitney Grove Square office building and adjoining retail shops at Whitney Avenue and Grove Street.

Under the terms of the transaction, Yale will own the office tower. A limited partnership, with Mr. Konover as the principal, will own the retail stores on the ground level. Current retail tenants include Taft Cosmetics, Federal Express, Michael’s Flowers, TJ’s Breakaway, and H. Pearce Company Realtors.

The office tower at 2 Whitney Ave. has eight floors with 99,000 square feet of office space – 35,000 square feet of which Yale leased for administrative office space in May from the prior owner, Whitney Grove Square Associates Limited Partnership. The remaining floors are leased to various local businesses, which are staying in the building.

Herbert H. Pearce, the general partner of the prior owner, commented that he welcomed the purchase. “Yale and Konover have kept control of this cornerstone of the Whitney Grove neighborhood so it remains in the hands of responsible, local players,” Mr. Pearce said. “I am very pleased with the way this was handled and by the outcome, which serves a mutuality of interests. This brings full-circle Yale’s ownership of the property, which the University sold to Whitney Grove Square Associates Limited Partnership in 1984 to facilitate its development. Yale was a large backer, investing roughly 30 percent of the initial $6.7 limited partnership funds.”

Mr. Konover recently acquired the Grove Street Garage across the street from this property and has owned a majority interest for a number of years in One Century Tower, which is on the adjacent corner. Mr. Konover expressed his appreciation to Mr. Pearce for the smooth transition of ownership for this landmark project, which will complement his other New Haven properties. An affiliate of Mr. Konover will provide management services for the entire project.

Mr. Konover is founder and chairman of Konover & Associates Inc., a real estate development company based in West Hartford with substantial retail, office, multi-family and hotel holdings in Connecticut and elsewhere along the Eastern Seaboard.

Yale University President Richard C. Levin said ownership of the office tower has enabled Yale to consolidate a number of administrative offices for more efficient operation. He also noted that the acquisition of this property with Mr. Konover advances the University’s goals of preserving the area around campus through partnerships with private investors.

Mr. Levin said, “The University is pleased to invest in its host city, meet some critical space needs and encourage side-by-side investment in New Haven by a retail developer with the national stature of Simon Konover.”

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said, “The co-administration of the property assures local ownership and the continuation of active retail activity along the street. Having additional Yale people working downtown definitely is an asset.”

Vice President and Secretary of Yale Linda Koch Lorimer said, “It was important that the stability of this pivotal downtown building be secured. To have had this key site up for grabs could have given it an uncertain future. This purchase also follows the example of Yale’s purchase of the vacant former Jewish Community Center for renovation as headquarters for the Yale School of Art. Yale recognized it could help the vitality of the Chapel Street retail area by having Yale people study and work there.”

Tom Herd, owner of TJ’s Deli in the Whitney Grove complex, said, “I am pleased that Yale has become a co-owner of Whitney Grove Square. Since Yale’s occupancy of the complex, there has been increased activity in the Whitney Grove retail neighborhood.”

The University has invested in a number of additional New Haven properties in conjunction with other private and public investors, such as the apartment buildings at 94-100 Howe St., which it purchased with local real estate developer D.J. Ornato, and the Ninth Square Project, a mixed-use development that was financed with more than $12 million in loans from Yale.

Jointly issued by Yale University, Simon Konover and Herbert H. Pearce. Please call the Yale Office of Public Affairs at 432-1345 for more information.

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