Olde Andover Village, a community of more than 30 businesses in the heart of downtown Andover, is being sold for the first time in four decades, according to its current owner.
"It's scheduled (to sell) for the end of August, but I'm not sure when that will take place," building owner Peter Onanian said Monday.
When reached by phone at his home, Onanian gave no indication of his asking price, and declined to say who was buying the property.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss that," he said.
The 89-93 Main St. property is assessed by the town at $4.9 million. Among its more than 30 business tenants are Lantern Brunch, Dunkin' Donuts, Andover Auto School, Bella Beads, Andover Bookstore, the Law Offices of C. Ryan Buckley, Tiny Tunes, General Goods, CoCo Collection and the Andover Electrology and Laser Center. A number of apartments also exist on the third floor of the building. It is next to a large public parking lot.
"The sale of Olde Andover Village is an exciting time for downtown," said Peter Caruso, vice president of the Andover Business Center Association. "Olde Andover Village has always been a focal point in downtown Andover. It only reinforces that others see Andover center as a continuing growth opportunity."
Tenants and their employees were buzzing about the prospective purchase this week. Some said they heard the sale was finalized already, while others said they saw the new owners walking the facility, discussing changes to it or meeting with people.
George Dukas, owner of Lantern Brunch, has owned his diner in Olde Andover Village for over 35 years. His restaurant has never known another landlord under his leadership, he said.
"I've never experienced it," Dukas said. "I just don't know what the future is going to hold."
"The current management has been fabulous," said Carla Byrne, owner of Bella Beads. "I have been very happy."
Both Dukas and Byrne identified that the community is historic in its appearance and place downtown.
"It's a historic building, so I really hope the new owner respects and preserves that," Byrne said.
Dukas thinks the new ownership will.
"I'm sure they're going to do renovations," he said. "People wouldn't want to invest money in this without making it a desirable place to be.
"As they say in real estate: Location. Location. Location," Dukas said. "It's a nice area. Very desirable."
John Hugo, owner of Andover Bookstore, said the prospective owners want to buy the property because it is a strong financial investment.
"They probably (bought it) because it has businesses in it," Hugo said. "I don't know if they purchased it for the character."
Overall, Hugo also thinks the sale won't affect the tenants anytime soon — at least those with multi-year leases.
"Most landlords want to keep tenants in the area," he said. "Unless they want to demo the building — which, sure, that could impact us — but (Andover Bookstore has) a lease for five years."
Dukas said Avison Young, a Canada-based commercial real estate services company, has been involved with the sale. When reached by phone, John Fenton, the company's principal and managing director in its New England region, declined to comment on anything related to Olde Andover Village, and would not confirm any involvement.
A businessman who several business owners believed to be the future owner could not be reached for comment.
A week ago, Avison Young announced in a press release that it helped seal the deal on a combined recapitalization and repositioning of 540,000 square feet of commercial property in Boston, Wilmington and Andover. The Andover property in that deal was 299-301 Ballardvale St., which is set on the Wilmington and Andover town line. In that deal, Avison Young negotiated the pricing and managed the construction of tenant improvements associated with more than a dozen new leases on behalf of various property owners, the press release said.