Outlet Center goes to auction

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BRATTLEBORO — The Outlet Center is set to be auctioned off next week.

"We'll see what happens," Ron Algeni, co-owner of Northeast Mountain Footwear, said about his future in the building during an interview there Thursday. "It's the unknown."

The Outlet Center, located at 580 Canal St., will be auctioned off onsite at 1 p.m. Thursday. The 7,336-square-foot building and 5.42-acre property had been shown to potential bidders Jan. 15 and will be again at noon on the day of the auction.

In a property summary, Tranzon Auction Properties said the Outlet Center has "excellent visibility" as it is just off Exit 1 on Interstate 91.

Tranzon also is touting that the Outlet Center is within an "Opportunity Zone." Such designations were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and provide tax advantages for investments in lower income areas.

The property is assessed at $1,350,000 and requires annual tax payments of about $37,749, according to Tranzon. The company said no outstanding taxes are owed.

The auction is part of a foreclosure action brought upon by TD Bank against Marcraft Realty Corp. Judge Michael Kainen signed a judgment and decree of foreclosure by judicial in November. At the time, principal amounts of about $732,130, $39,691 and $24,251 were owed as well as accrued interest of about $65,475; attorney's fees of about $21,860; appraisal costs of $4,911; a title search of $149; and recording fees for filing the complaint of $130.

The mortgage dates back to January 2004, with a second mortgage recorded in 2013 and a third one recorded the following year, according to court documents. The bank said payments on the first and second notes went unpaid and according to the terms, a default on any of the notes is considered a default on all of the notes, causing all the principals to be due right away.

Tranzon said the property began to be developed in 1955. The Outlet Center includes 11 retail units — four of which are occupied through leases with Hanes, Jumi Shop, Northeast Mountain Footwear and Carter's Childrenwear — and two public restrooms.

Sources familiar with buying commercial property at auction indicate that typically, new owners want tenants to remain at the property for at least the short term and regularly want them to stay on a long-term basis.

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Algeni said building maintenance at the Outlet Center has been deferred for years. Regarding needs, he listed new bathrooms and a new roof.

"We're actually looking forward to a new owner," he said.

Attempts by the Reformer to reach Marcraft were unsuccessful. Algeni said the company's owner, David Zimmerman, had been trying to sell the building for 17 years and moved to Panama. He said Zimmerman had a contentious relationship with the bank and ended up abandoning the building.

Algeni described the Outlet Center as both a landmark and "a diamond so rough it's hard to look at."

"It has its charm but whoever buys this building is taking on its uncertainty," he said while noting some tenants who had been there a while could be "a solid base."

His business, which has locations in Swanzey, N.H., and Springfield, Mass., has been a tenant in the Outlet Center for 21 years. He plans to have a store in Brattleboro despite the outcome of the auction.

Dressbarn in the Outlet Center recently closed. All locations of the chain were anticipated to shut down no later than Dec. 26.

Algeni estimated that 70 percent of the Outlet Center is currently vacant. He blamed Amazon, calling the company that specializes in e-commerce a "vampire when it comes to retail."

Still, Algeni said he thinks the right person could "revive" the Outlet Center "and have a heck of a business."

Potential bidders can look at the lease agreements and other relevant documents by searching property number AP20205 on tranzon.com.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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