BERLIN - The practice is uncommon.
Chris Edge, economic development director for the town, along with members of the Economic Development Commission, hosted a bus tour for real estate agents, developers, contractors and anyone else interested in available properties.
“It was great,” said Ed Talarski of Wiechert Realtors of Wethersfield, who added he had never been on a tour like this before. “The development office here does a great job of promoting Berlin.”
The tour, which started at the property of EDC Commissioner Chris Coppola III, visited available properties throughout town, via a Berlin-based Premier Limousine bus, with leather seats and air conditioning, donated by the company, and finished with a Texas barbecue-style lunch with ribs, sausage, beans and corn at the Coppola residence.
While on the tour, which was accompanied by a 2-inch-thick book and a flash drive with detailed information on each of the properties’ value, square footage, purchase and rental rates, Edge pointed out the properties in industrial parks, which Edge said there are plenty of, with access for businesses, employees, trucks, the Berlin Turnpike and the Kensington area.
“I’m coming to realize we have a lot of interesting properties in Berlin, here is another one,” said Edge after showing office park space at 1251/1253 Berlin Turnpike.
About midway through the tour, Edge invited attendees off the bus to meet with Cary Gagnon, the owner of 1100 Berlin Turnpike, a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise.
Also, on the tour were two representatives of Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Jessica Inacio and Erron Smith, who explained how their organization can help with fiscal and economical analysis for towns and development projects within a town.
“Chris has always done a great job as an economic developer as he knows the ins and outs of what’s important, why it’s important to highlight the history of the town, its assets,” said Smith to the whole bus.
After checking out vacant spaces - such as a 20-acre lot on Christian Lane listed at $1.6 million - toward the end, the tour took a stop outside the 889, 903 and 913 Farmington Ave. properties. Edge and the development office are pushing for private consideration after a $21 million police station failed at referendum and a $16 million version failed at the Town Council level. Everyone took notice of it.
“That was the most interesting spot,” said Kelly Buck, director of business development at Diversified Project Management of Hartford.
“I do a lot of events like this, because it’s very relaxed, said Coppola. “It’s a lot of fun, because it’s relaxed everybody’s guard is down they’re receptive. It’s not a seminar or workshop where somebody is going to try and hook me with something or pitch me with some damn thing.”
Luke Massirio, of O, R & L Realtors, agreed.
“What’s not to like?” he said of the food and sit-down setting inside Coppola’s stable. “There’s no pressure so not only do you get to know people on a business level but also a personal level. Most of the time you’re likely to do business with somebody because you like them.”
Before it began, Mayor Mark Kaczynski was on hand to praise the efforts of Edge.
“I always call him the Energizer Bunny,” said Kaczynski. “We are so pleased to be able to host the commercial real estate and development community and showcase the great things happening in Berlin.”
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.