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    Friday, May 24, 2024

    Massive Mystic real estate deal inked in downtown

    Mystic ― In what may be the largest commercial real estate sale in Mystic history, a Massachusetts investor with an extensive real estate portfolio has inked a $14 million deal for a complex of retail, restaurant and residential space in the heart of Groton’s Water Street.

    Karim “Ed” Jouki, who owns numerous properties in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, spent a year negotiating the off-market deal before finalizing the purchase of Factory Square on Oct. 31.

    Factory Square, the 60,000-square-foot former home of the Standard Machinery Co., encompasses 43 residential units and six commercial spaces, including Margaritas, Friar Tuck’s, Mystic River Chocolate Café, Milestone and Barley Head Brewery.

    The deal for the three attached buildings and one detached building comprising the mixed-use property was brokered by Mantas Laureckis and Dylan LaGrandeur, real estate agents with Seaport Commercial, a division of Seaport Real Estate Services of Mystic.

    On Friday, Laureckis said the challenges of the landmark deal, including rising interest rates, reflect the dynamic local real estate environment. But he believes it was the biggest commercial real estate transaction in Mystic’s history, exceeding the $11.5 million Steamboat Wharf deal in 2019 by $2.5 million.

    Jouki, 77, who came to America in 1970 from Lebanon with just $46 in his pocket, said Friday that he probably overpaid for the property, valued at $7.7 million, according to property records. But because he keeps most of the properties he buys, he says he’s not worried. He thinks property values in the Mystic area will continue to rise, and once he makes improvements to the property, it will be worth more than what he paid for it.

    “In the future, the value will shoot up like a rocket,” he said. “Mystic is historic, and becoming well known ― well wanted,” he added, pointing to the millions of visitors who travel to the area each year.

    When asked why he wanted to purchase the property, Jouki noted less tangible qualities.

    “I like the town; I like the people. I like the atmosphere,” he said.

    Jouki said he plans to make some improvements to the property, including cleaning up the building exteriors and renovating the 43 apartments in the space with higher-end amenities such as stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, but plans no changes for the use of the property.

    LaGrandeur said the property was off the market and the owners were not willing to sell initially, but that he and Laureckis thrive on the challenges that such large deals and lengthy negotiations inevitably face. In the end, he said, they managed to negotiate the sale by presenting an offer Factory Square LLC could not refuse.

    Factory Square last sold in 1999 for $2.6 million.

    Editor’s note: This version corrects the spelling of Mantas Laureckis’ surname.

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