RUTLAND —MKF has purchased 72 Merchants Row, adjacent to the Green Mountain Power (GMP) Energy Innovation Center, and MKF and GMP plan to connect the two buildings to share amenities including conference rooms and the EIC’s rooftop terrace. MKF has also purchased parking lots at 77 Grove Street from GMP, and the adjoining building from an out-of-state real estate company.
“I am thrilled we were able to acquire these properties, and excited by the possibilities they present,” said Mark Foley Jr., president of MKF Properties. “We have exciting plans to rehabilitate and connect the space next to the EIC, and believe improvements to 77 Grove Street will make it a truly unique property, a draw for businesses seeking all the amenities that come with being Downtown, along with ample on-site parking. The open floor plan of 77 Grove will allow for companies who previously could not find space large enough in a single property to locate in our vibrant and beautiful Downtown.”
Foley said the 72 Merchants Row space would be renovated and become three floors of co-working space connected to GMP’s EIC through a new doorway on the second floor, allowing the use of GMP conference rooms and space. “We envision it as a fun, social and professional spot that will appeal to entrepreneurs, new businesses and business professionals who need space but not necessarily an office suite of their own,” Foley said. “Connecting to the EIC will give it some added energy as well as allow for use of some of the amenities and resources there. Supporting new businesses and providing an environment where collaboration, mentoring and a strong peer network exist is important for the region and ideally suited for this Downtown location, directly across from the Opera House where REDC and Castleton Downtown are co-located.”
The former CVPS building on Grove Street will be rebranded as 77 Grove, which MKF will custom retrofit for tenants needing 7,000 to 20,000 square feet of space. With ample parking, high-speed fiber, generator backup and a two-minute walk to the rest of downtown, Foley sees a host of possibilities.
“77 Grove is a prominent and well-built building, and the on-site parking and location just a block from the Downtown core, made it a great fit for our Company” Foley said. “We focus on historic, quality buildings and locations, like the Chittenden Building, the Service Building, the Opera House and the Gryphon Building; and with the addition of 77 Grove, it gives us another unique and premier commercial building in the heart of Downtown Rutland.
The Grove Street building had long been owned and controlled by a New York company, though GMP owned most of the adjacent parking areas. MKF and GMP agreed on the parking lot sale as part of an agreement for MKF to also purchase the building next to the EIC as he negotiated the 77 Grove purchase.
“I am so thankful to GMP for working with us to acquire these properties. It was a unique situation, and GMP’s willingness to partner with us on 72 Merchants Row and to sell us the lots at 77 Grove was critical for us to make a deal work with the owners of the former CVPS/GMP building,” Foley said.
“Mark has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to manage and lease high-quality commercial property, so we are thrilled to have helped support these initiatives to support the downtown and economic growth,” GMP Vice President Steve Costello said. “Mark’s commitment to Rutland, and downtown in particular, gave us great confidence in working with him and great optimism about the future of these properties. And the opportunity to share some space and collaborate on his new Merchants Row space helps improve a property that has been a near-constant concern for many.”
The 72 Merchants Row building has been an eyesore for years. The windows have been boarded up, and the deteriorating and damaged brick was a safety hazard. The upper floors have no heat, and a full restoration is planned. “It will be a wonderful space when we are finished, with heat pumps, high speed fiber, and efficient lighting along with an updated facade,” Foley said.
Mayor Dave Allaire praised the announcement. “These properties have passed into excellent hands,” Allaire said. “The city has been working to get the former owner to take responsibility for the deteriorating condition of the 72 Merchants Row property for several years, and I’m very pleased to see both properties coming under local control, and to hear Mark’s plans for their redevelopment.”