2021 Power 25 Real Estate: Paul Brandes

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Paul Brandes has already had major deals in Greater Hartford, where his Charter Realty & Development firm owns and / or operates about a dozen commercial and retail properties, including Farmington’s Westfarms Center, Front Street in Hartford and Evergreen Walk in South Windsor.

In May, Greenwich-based Charter, co-chaired by Brandes, raised its profile in the region with the purchase of Blue Back Square in West Hartford, arguably one of the most famous shopping malls and restaurants in Greater Hartford.

The deal shook heads as charter and co-buyer Rialto Capital paid just $ 40 million for a 450,000-square-foot, multi-functional daily life center, significantly less than the $ 105 million Starwood Capital Group paid in 2013.

Brandes cited problems with the increase in job vacancies and expected more vacancies to emerge if tenants, weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic or other factors, left in the coming months.

Brandes and Charter will be tested as they seek to attract new strong tenants to Blue Back, where as of May, according to the Charter website, roughly 27% of the total square footage was available for rent.

Meanwhile, Charter is working to increase the vacancy rate at Evergreen Walk, where it recently unveiled plans to build a new Whole Foods supermarket.

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