Greenwichite makes eight-figure Mystic real estate investment

GREENWICH — Greenwich businessman Walter “Sonny” Glaser Jr. has purchased a large block of commercial properties in Mystic, a deal that reflects his longtime connections to eastern Connecticut.

The $11.5 million sale encompasses about 25 percent of the commercial real estate stock in the touristy waterfront community, which includes sections of Groton and the neighboring town of Stonington.

Steamboat Inn LLC, which comprises Glaser-controlled entities, bought three buildings that house 47 apartments and 19 storefronts — including the Mystic Disc record store, Green Marble Coffee House, an Army Navy establishment and the Blue Horse children’s clothing store — and the Steamboat Inn, a boutique hotel with 11 guestrooms and 170 feet of dock space along the Mystic River.

“Mystic is special,” Glaser, who lives in Greenwich’s Cos Cob section and is also a part-time Mystic resident, said in an interview Friday. “It’s a really good, close-knit community, and I want to be a part of it.”

The deal originated last June when Glaser met with the principals of the properties’ owner, Steamboat Wharf Co. LLC, a group that has built or renovated more than half of downtown Mystic in the past 40 years.

Steamboat Wharf had not planned to sell before meeting Glaser, but the latter convinced his counterparts that he would maintain the properties’ character as the new owner. He said that he would neither tear down any of the buildings nor raise tenants’ rents.

“It was very important to us that we find a buyer who will value this community as we do and who will maintain the assets, not just for investment, but for the long-term well-being of Mystic,” said Paul Connor, one of the three members of Steamboat Wharf. “When we were introduced to Sonny and learned about his history in Mystic and his experience as a businessman, we knew right away he was the one we wanted to carry the torch.

Judi Caracausa, of Mystic-based Market Realty LLC, brokered the sale.

The deal reflects a long-standing interest in historic properties for Glaser, who spent part of his childhood summers in Mystic. Among other properties, he is restoring a 5-acre property on Cat Rock Road, in Greenwich, that dates to 1855 and has a farmhouse and carriage house.

“I love restoring and saving historic places,” Glaser said. “And I love the history of Mystic.”

Glaser’s experience also includes running GAL Manufacturing Corp., a third-generation company that sold parts to elevator manufacturers around the world and employed more than 800. The firm was sold in 2017.

Mystic ranks as one of the state’s top tourist destinations. Its attractions include the Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic Seaport Museum, home of the Charles W. Morgan, the world’s last wooden whale ship.

pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott

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