Key Bennington business sites change hands

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BENNINGTON — June was a hectic month for high-profile commercial real estate transfers in Bennington.

Among properties changing hands were the Oldcastle Theatre Company building, historic structures within the Putnam Block parcel; a former Plasan factory building, and the KFC/Taco Bell property on Northside Drive.

The noteworthy commercial sales began on June 7, when a factory building at 139 Shields Drive was sold by Plasan Carbon Composites Inc. to 139 Shields Drive O Z, LLC, for $675,000.

The property, which according to a real estate listing includes 15.81 acres and a building with 47,768 square feet, had been assessed for taxes at $2,173,600.

The new ownership entity lists Bill Drunsic, of Manchester, as the registered agent for the limited liability corporation.

Reached on Friday, Drunsic said in an email, "My goal is to put this building into justifiable economic use in a manner that houses productive jobs for the community. It appears that at this time it would probably require subdividing the space into multiple smaller spaces, which on a building this size gets a bit tricky. There are a couple of 'tire kickers,' but way too early to announce anything."

Putnam Block sites

On June 14, two historic properties associated with the $53 million Putnam Block redevelopment project area around the former Hotel Putnam site were transferred.

Bennington County Industrial Corp., which is assisting the Bennington Redevelopment Group in developing a four-acre parcel adjacent to the Four Corners intersection, is listed as the seller for both transactions.

The non-profit economic development entity has held the Putnam parcel in lieu of the BRG since the commercial site with six buildings was transferred from the Greenberg family.

Principals involved in the Putnam Block project — the first phase of which has entered the construction stage — have said the BCIC, unlike the BRG, is able to apply for grant funding for environmental remediation work, some of which has been completed with more planned.

Project leaders have said the plan is to later transfer the property to the BRG, a community oriented consortium of local institutions, businesses and individual investors, which, although a for-profit entity, is primarily concerned with seeing a major redevelopment plan take shape in the downtown.

Bill Colvin, the local point-person for the developers, said Friday that the transfer of 101-109 South St. (the former hotel and the Courthouse building next to it, is not a simple real estate transfer for the listed price of $750,000. Among other factors, he said, the agreement involves a 99-year lease.

Colvin referred further explanation of the transaction to Craig Miskovich, of Downs Rachlin Martin, of Brattleboro, attorneys for the Putnam Block developers. Miskovich could not be reached Friday.

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The historic buildings at 101-109 South St., which are now being renovated and restored, were assessed at $519,300.

Theater building

Oldcastle Theatre Company has purchased its building at 331 Main St. from the BCIC for $225,000, according to a listing at the town clerk's office, and now owns its performance location for the first time since forming in 1972.

The theater building was assessed at $204,500.

The company is planning a fund drive and adding programming other than live theater to help cover the cost of roofing and other needed repairs and building costs going forward.

In another commercial sale, the transfer of property at 100 Northside Drive, the site of the Taco Bell/KFC restaurants, was recorded June 10 at a price of $1.9 million. The property had been assessed at $707,500.

L&D Properties, LLC, based in Windham, Maine, was listed as the seller, and the buyer was FMI US Property Holdings, LLC. The new owner is a real estate rental and leasing entity, based in New Brunswick, Canada, according to information on the Secretary of State's website.

Town officials said Friday they were unaware of any pending changes for the Northside Drive property.

The town of Bennington on June 18 sold the former town public works garage at 107 Depot St. to SC Spirits, LLC, for $80,000.

The new owners plan a liquor distillery at the site.

SC Spirits owners Glenn Sauer and Matt Cushman have said they intend to renovate the 3,800-square-foot former garage and invest $1 million in the property.

On June 20, another prominent business site changed hands. According to town records, Three Forty Realty, LLC, sold the Beverage Den and Vape Shop property at 340 North St., to Patel Investments Inc., for $380,000.

The business property was assessed at $269,500.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont, including the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal. Twitter: @BB_therrien     


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