What’s Up With That Place? Vacant Outback Steakhouse in Manchester still for sale after 2020 closure

Joseph Villanova, Journal Inquirer

MANCHESTER — The former Outback Steakhouse on Hale Road in Manchester has sat vacant since the restaurant closed four years ago, with the property owners hoping to sell or lease the land to a new business.

Manchester is not the only town to grapple with Bloomin’ Brands shrinking its presence in Connecticut, with restaurants in Enfield and Danbury closing in recent years.

Matt Halprin, principal of property owner and brokerage company New England Retail Properties, said the 3.5-acre parcel at 170 Hale Road was owned by Melville Corporation, the former parent company of brands like Bob’s Stores, CVS, and Marshalls.

He said the then-empty property was sold to an Outback Steakhouse franchisee in 1994 as the brand continued its New England expansion.

Halprin said the franchisee later sold the business to Outback Steakhouse corporate, leasing the property to the company while it operated the restaurant.

In 2017, Bloomin’ Brands closed two restaurants in the region operated under other brands: a Carrabba’s Italian Grill on Redstone Road in Manchester, and a Bonefish Grill at Evergreen Walk in South Windsor.

Company officials announced in January 2020 that Outback Steakhouse’s location in Manchester would close by the end of the month.

Halprin said the property owners hired New England Retail Properties to market the property after Outback Steakhouse closed, but the pandemic made expansion a difficult prospect for many restaurants.

Halprin said his company later purchased the land from the original owners and have continued to market it since, though the pandemic continued and led to a major increase in the cost of both construction and financing.

New England Retail Properties has leased or listed a handful of other properties in the Buckland Hills region, including the La-Z-Boy building just down the street.

“Its always been a good retail hub,” Halprin said. “The focus has shifted away from Buckland Hills to the South Windsor side, but you still have a critical mass of apartments over there, you still have good access.”

Halprin said the company hopes to lease or sell the Hale Road land for a new tenant or development. He said that he feels the property is a “prime piece of real estate” that could support another restaurant, a hotel or motel, apartments, medical offices, and many other uses.

“We’ve had a couple interested parties and a number of people who have wanted to purchase the prop for redevelopment,” Halprin said.

A packet provided by New England Retail Properties states that the current building is roughly 6,000-square-feet, and the land could support new construction as large as 30,000-square-feet.

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