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March 28, 2023

Gardner’s historic downtown Garbose Building latest to be acquired for redevelopment

Six people stand in front of a brick building with blue awnings Photo | Courtesy of Candor Realty Personnel from the City of Gardner and Candor Realty in front of the Garbose Building in downtown Gardner

The Garbose Building at 2-10 Parker St. in downtown Gardner has been acquired for redevelopment by Candor Realty of Lowell, the latest in a series of investments in Gardner’s downtown.

The sale price was $500,000. Candor plans on renovating the building to create 18 market-rate one-bedroom and studio apartments, and retaining the ground-floor retail space, according to a Monday press release. 

“Our experience so far in Gardner has shown us that the city needs more housing,” Candor President and CEO Jonathan Bombaci said in the press release, “and we're hoping this building becomes the future home to some residents in the downtown".

Candor owns approximately 100 units in Gardner, according to an email from Bombaci, including properties at 25 Main St. and 88-89 Main St. downtown.

“In the last two years, we have seen unprecedented economic growth and development in Gardner, particularly in the Downtown,” Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson said in the press release. “This latest news will only help improve that trend and strengthen what our Downtown can offer in the near future.”

Patti Bergstrom, head of Gardner’s downtown business association, Gardner Square Two, Inc., is looking forward to the Garbose Building block being reactivated with new retail. 

“We look forward to the new owners restoring it and bringing in new retail shops,” Bergstrom said in the press release. “Many of us remember when the building was home to The Elephants Child, Mother Earth, and Country Mischief, and the windows were so beautifully decorated.”

The seller was Dean Marcus who, according to the press release, struggled to find consistent tenants for the property. 

Marcus sold 25 Main St. to Candor in May for $400,000, according to the Worcester District Registry of Deeds.

He sold 42-50 and 52 Parker St. to the Gardner Redevelopment Authority for a combined $375,000 in 2017. Those properties are being redeveloped by Gary Lorden, according to an October press release from MassDevelopment.

Other investors and developers have been investing in Gardner as well within the past year.

Shirley investment company The Door Fund bought a large property on Central Street in downtown Gardner in September for $2.3 million.

In September, The Gardner News reported on a redevelopment effort by Hudson-based Molina Realty Group of the former Gardner News building and a former bank building most recently owned by Bank of America.

“As we see more and more people moving to Gardner, projects like these help us meet that growth in a smart way, providing both housing and economic opportunities to our new and long standing residents alike,” Nicholson said in the press release. “I want to thank Jon Bombaci and his team, as well as all of the recent developers and investors in our City for their commitment to being strong partners for growth and success.” 

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