BERLIN - More than doubling their size, after a slight construction delay, commercial and military aerospace manufacturer Forrest Machine moved to its new 55,000 square-foot facility.
“We’re happy to be in Berlin,” David Forrest, founder and president of the company said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’re looking forward to spending many years here.”
The business which employs more than 70 workers and does about $15 million in sales annually with several jet engine manufacturers including Connecticut-based Pratt & Whitney, was in a 15,000 square foot facility in Rocky Hill before the move.
“You couldn’t even walk through the machines. It was half the size,” Product Planner Jennifer Dewees said.
Wanting to expand, they were unable to find any place in Rocky Hill, Forrest said, so he reached out to several economic development directors in the immediate area. The first one to get back to him was Chris Edge, economic development director for Berlin.
“This is a wonderful day,” Edge said. “This was the nicest piece of real estate we had in town, and now we have the most beautiful building in town here.”
The property the facility now sits on was previously owned by Bob Peters, the owner of neighboring Precision Punch, until he passed away in July 2015. Once it was done being settled through Peters’ estate, Edge was able to share it with Forrest and offer a seven-year tax abatement.
It works by forgiving 50 percent of taxes the first two years, 40 percent the next two years, 30 percent the following two years, and 10 percent in the seventh year. The deal is expected to generate over $1.5 million in property and some personal property tax revenue in 20 years for the town, if they stay at their current footprint. The company is already approved to expand their facility another 25,000 square feet if they want to, Edge said.
“We wanted them to come to Berlin,” said Edge.
“You’re certainly one of the shining stars that we’re glad we borrowed you away from Rocky Hill,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski at the ribbon cutting. “Obviously it’s a first class operation so we thank you for choosing Berlin. Whatever you need from the town we’ll work with you.”
The new facility in Berlin features energy efficient lighting, bathrooms, air compressors, deburring practices and waste removal and more, as well as more space overall for their different departments from assembly to quality control to shipping and receiving.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.