Brendan Towers Sold For $6M+

Thomas Breen photoPaul Bass photoA Fairfield County developer sold a 60-unit Whalley Avenue apartment complex for $2.2 million more than he paid for it before fixing it up, in one of the latest land transactions in town.

According to recent city property transaction records, 457 Whalley NavCapManLLC, a holding company owned by Justin Goldberg, sold the 60-unit complex, Brendan Towers apartment at 457 Whalley Ave., to BCT-042 LLC, a holding company owned by New York City-based investor Vincent Gojcaj, for $6.7 million on Jan. 27.

Goldberg, who runs the Fairfield/Bridgeport-based Navarino Property Group, bought the red-brick, three-story apartment complex near the intersection of Whalley and Ella T. Grasso Boulevard back in 2014 for $4,477,926. The city last appraised the property in 2017 at $2,851,700.

“We really upgraded the property,” Goldberg said about the roughly $1 million worth of capital investments his company put into Brendan Towers over the past five years. “We improved the curb appeal, the landscaping, put in a sprinkler system, painted the hallways, put in new carpeting, put in a new laundry room. We really improved the look and feel of the property.”

Goldberg’s company spent millions of dollars gut-rehabbing the former Dwight Co-ops, now Dwight Gardens, on Edgewood Avenue. He said that the work his property management group did at Brendan Towers was not as intensive as what was required at Dwight.

But, he said, Navarino did help improve the quality of life at a mixed-income complex that, two years before he bought it, had a fatal shooting take place within its walls. Goldberg said that his company put an end to nearby Whalley Avenue businesses dumping trash in Brendan Towers’s Dumpsters, and also stopped a previously common practice of tour buses picking up and dropping off travelers in the complex’s spacious parking lot.

“We achieved our business plans,” Goldberg said about why he decided to sell Brendan Towers now. “We made a positive impact on the community.”

Goldberg said his company still owns and manages over 500 housing units in the Greater New Haven region, including roughly 250 units within city limits.

The new landlord, Victor Gojcaj, could not be reached for comment by the publication time of this article. Gojcaj also owns a three-story, mixed residential and commercial building downtown at 99-101 Orange St.

In other recent land transactions, on Jan. 15, the landlords of the Columbus West Apartments, formerly the West Street Housing Cooperative, sold the 65-unit Section 8 apartment complex for $1.3 million to ... themselves.

Jonathan Gelbwaks and Ira Checkla, the owners of the holding company Brooklyn Property Investors LLC, sold the sprawling Hill apartment complex at 31 Thorn St., 781 Congress Ave., 800 Congress Ave., and 817 Congress Ave. to New Haven Hill LLC, a holding company that they also own.

Gelbwaks, who is based out of Weston, said the name change and change of legal entities owned by the exact same people were done to get bank financing to pay off a $1.3 million loan.

“Just a transfer of ownership to get bank financing,” Gelbwaks told the Independent. “We’re here for the long term.”

He and Checkla said that their company, which took over the foreclosed former co-op in 2015 and formally dissolved the co-op in 2016, has invested in new siding, roofs, fences, and paint jobs at the apartment complex.

“The improvements made to the place over the past short period are noticeable,” Checkla said

One tenant, Fayina Bell, who has lived in the Columbus West Apartments for seven years, said that Gelbwaks, whose office is at the corner of Congress Avenue and West Street, has done his best to keep with up with frequent maintenance problems at some of the apartments.

“John was cool,” she said. “Down to earth. He tried to get everything done.” Nevertheless, she said, her apartment’s downstairs toilet has been broken for over six months, and no one from the management company has come to fix it.

On the west side of town, Daniel and Joseph Scherban spent a total of $150,000 on three more condos in the Woodbridge Crossing complex in Amity. The two investors bought 73 Fowler St., Unit 1-R, 76 Fowler St., Unit 1-R, and 93 Fowler St., Unit 1-R for $50,000 each, all from Irmgard Boling. The Scherban’s now own 21 condos in the brick-and-vinyl-sided complex.

Previous property sale coverage:

Investors Drop $917K On West Side Condos
Mandy’s 2018 Buying Spree Nears $13M
Mandy Empire Buys Up The Block
Roots Planted In Newhallville
Latest Sales: Mandy Buying Spree Continues
Latest Sales: Mandy Expands In City Point
Latest Sales: East Rock Home Buy Tops $1M
Latest Deals: Beulah’s 5th Rehab On Block
Latest Sales: NHR Sheds Small To Focus Big
Latest Sales: Mandy Buys In Heights
Home Sale Price Doubles In 13 Years

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posted by: 1644 on February 4, 2019  8:22am

The photograph of Columbus West does not look like a complex with “new siding, roofs, fences, and paint jobs at the apartment complex.”  If it is an old, “before” photograph, it should be labeled as such.  If it is current, it belies the landlords’ assertion of new siding, initial reaction on seeing it, that the owners are slumlords, is justified.
  On the topic of slumlords, the author is not clear about how the tenant’s toilet is “broken”.  If the toilet has a handle that just needs to be jiggled, the lack of repair is not so significant.  But if it is truly non-functional, the landlord is failing in his most basic responsibility to keep the premises in good repair, with particular regard to sanitary systems.  He should not be collecting rent on the place if a toilet has been out of commission for six months.  If the landlord doesn’t fix it, the tenant should call LCI for code enforcement.

posted by: Patricia Kane on February 4, 2019  8:50am

6 months to fix a toilet is sub-standard maintenance.
Should the Health Dept. be notified on this?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 4, 2019  10:24am

One tenant, Fayina Bell, who has lived in the Columbus West Apartments for seven years, said that Gelbwaks, whose office is at the corner of Congress Avenue and West Street, has done his best to keep with up with frequent maintenance problems at some of the apartments.

This is what Landlords do to get the people out and then Jack up the rent.Like I said.The Gentrification Vampires are now pushing into Whally Ave.Start packing your bags.A lot of you will be gone.

posted by: Bill Saunders on February 4, 2019  3:00pm


You should coin the word ‘rentrification’.