Former city Denecker car dealership sold

VERGENNES — The partnership of Kennedy Brothers Marketplace building co-owner Bob Feuerstein and real estate broker and developer Scott Hardy has purchased the former Denecker Chevrolet property at 14 North Main St., Vergennes.
The partners, doing business as Rockfire14 LLC, on Jan. 29 paid $300,000 for the 6,768-square-foot building that includes office, showroom, and former shop/garage space on 1.8 acres. It is assessed for tax purposes at $396,000.
The property was the county’s original Denecker Chevrolet, dating back to the early 1990s. It is the last of three former Denecker Chevrolet properties to sell in the past year as former owner Tom Denecker, 67, now an Addison resident, severs his ties to the county’s automotive sector. 
Denecker sold the newest of the three, on Route 7 in Middlebury, to a small New York dealership chain this past summer. It is now Middlebury Chevrolet. In December he sold the second Denecker Chevrolet incarnation, on Monkton Road in Ferrisburgh just outside of Vergennes, to Chittenden County’s Heritage Automotive Group, which is using the property to store excess inventory.
Currently, Shacksbury Cider is renting the former shop/garage space at 14 North Main St. for storage, and Feuerstein said he and Hardy are seeking tenants for the balance of the building, which is vacant.
Feuerstein said inquiries have been picking up in recent months, especially for space in Kennedy Brothers property on the other side of Main Street, and he is optimistic.
“We’ve had a few calls, but nobody’s ready to move in or sign a lease yet,” he said. “But I’ll tell you, I’ve had more calls for offices in Kennedy Brothers in February and March than I’ve ever had in any two-month period since I took over.”
On the other hand, Feuerstein acknowledged Shacksbury’s tenure at 14 North Main St. is uncertain: At some point, the specialty cider maker will move operations into the former Country Home Products building on nearby Meigs Road. That larger building will offer Shacksbury more room to expand production and consolidate operations.
Shacksbury plans to maintain its tasting room in the north end of Kennedy Brothers, however.
“They have a sign out, ‘Tasting Room Opening Soon,’” Feuerstein said.
As for the future of the former Denecker property, Feuerstein is glad Hardy is on board.
“Scott is good at marketing. I’m good at fixing things,” he said.
Even if it takes a while to pay off, Feuerstein is confident in their joint purchase and future demand for it as a commercial rental.
He said the building has high visibility on a major artery, plenty of land, city water and sewer, and is in a burgeoning market.
“Long term it’s a safe bet. Vergennes is slowly growing. Obviously, there’s been a lot of people moving (here). I’ll tell you, a lot of the calls I’m getting are from people who were in New York, Boston, D.C., and they’re up here now,” he said. 
Meanwhile, in Kennedy Brothers Feuerstein does have three small spaces available, but overall he said he’s leasing 24,000 square feet out his rentable total of 26,000 square feet.
His newest tenant is Roundtree Construction Inc., which bailed out of the New Haven Junction Depot property it had called home for decades after the Vermont Agency of Transportation ruled the building had to be moved or taken down for safety reasons because it was too close to the rail bed. A massage therapist also signed on this year, Feuerstein added.
Another tenant will leave in six months, he said, and the future of another significant tenant at Kennedy Brothers — the Addison Northwest School District’s central office — remains unknown as the district weighs consolidation and cost-saving measures.
But Feuerstein remains confident in the property, while maybe viewing his and Hardy’s newer acquisition as somewhat more of an unknown.
“Right now I’m getting a lot of calls so hopefully I’ll get at least a few more rentals (at Kennedy Brothers), and that would be great,” he said. “Really right now I’d love to rent the Denecker building, the whole thing, obviously. It’s the perfect space for the right tenant.”

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