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A mix of commercial and residential space along the Guilford Green, 43 units in all, recently sold to a new owner for $8 million. (Photo by Zoe Roos/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
One of downtown Guilford’s largest property groups just changed hands. A collection of buildings on the green and around the Whitfield Water Street parking lot recently sold to a new owner for $8 million.
The property is made up of nine building and a total of 43 units, half commercial and half apartments. On the green, the tenants include Centro Pizza, South Lane, the Purple Bear, Swish, and Flutterby, among others. Behind those stores, the property also includes the buildings that hold Ballou’s Restaurant and Wine Bar, Sunny Side Up Coffee Shop, Country Grocer, and Hen & Heifer.
The property had been owned and managed by Craig Maturo for more than 20 years according to Shoreline Real Estate Company owner Tony Fappiano, who brokered both sides of the sale. The new owner is Todd Taylor, a Guilford resident.
“I think it is pretty iconic because Todd is only the third owner of that property in 50 years,” said Fappiano. “Steve Leninski owned it for 25 or 30 years and Craig Maturo owned it for 22 and now Todd has purchased it. I think that is pretty interesting.”
Fappiano said Maturo, who has now moved out of the state, did a good job of maintaining the property, but he is also looking forward to what the new owner might add.
“Craig did a very good job of improving the property over the years that he owned it,” he said. “He improved everything—the heating systems, septic, air conditioning, lighting, parking lot, [and] sidewalks, and he kept putting money back into the property. He did a great job. The new guy has some good ideas, too, and wants to improve the property even further, so it is a very good thing for the town of Guilford I think.”
Taylor has spent his entire career in real estate and has property in multiple states. He has lived in town for 10 years and said he has always been interested in owning property in Guilford.
“My fiancé, Daniela, was looking to open a jewelry store, there was only one vacancy in Craig’s property and we went to look at it,” he said. “I told Tony [Fappiano], ‘Well this would be more interesting if I could buy the building’ and he said, ‘Well I can’t sell you just the building, you have to buy all of them.’ So I asked what is all of them and Fappiano pointed them out, so I said, ‘OK, now this is really interesting’. I was introduced to Craig [Maturo] and we struck a deal.”
Taylor said he was also interested in the property because it is well maintained, the rent is diversified between commercial and residential, and because of the tenants themselves.
“I love the fact that almost 70 percent of the businesses that are my tenants are women-owned businesses, which I think is really cool,” he said. “A couple of the tenants have been there for decades, too.”
Taylor will have an office on premise and has been meeting with all of the tenants. All tenants were notified before the property was sold and Taylor said in the coming months he wants to look at ways to support and promote the businesses on the property.
“What I would like to do going forward, and I have already started speaking to the town about this, is I really want to make this square just off the green more of a destination shopping place, to bring people from beyond the shoreline and I think that is possible,” he said. “In the coming months, we are going to re-brand the whole square Whitfield and Water Shops with new signage [and] a website where we will do additional advertising and promotions to supplement what our tenants do. We have some other exciting ideas as well that we will roll out over the next 6 to 12 months.”