New Britain council considers manufacturer's bid to buy city land in move that could create 400 jobs

Published on Wednesday, 4 December 2019 20:52
Written by Catherine Shen

@cshenNBH

NEW BRITAIN - The city’s Committee on Planning, Zoning and Housing has unanimously approved Polamer Precision’s purchase of 27.3 acres in the Pinnacle Park subdivision for $1.1 million.

The Common Council held a public hearing on the purchase Tuesday night and no one from the public spoke against the project. The committee met immediately afterward to discuss it.

The land deal is expected to go before the Common Council at its next regular meeting for final approval.

Polamer Precision Chief Financial Officer Mario Gioco said the company has about 200 employees. About 120 are New Britain residents. With the new expansion, there is potential to hire a minimum of 400 New Britain employees, he said.

“We will need at least 600 employees total after the expansion,” he said. “We’re hopeful that at least 400 of them will be New Britain residents.”

The company has a heavy focus on green energy. Its current property includes 3 1/2 acres of solar panels and all buildings are built with green energy on top.

Gioco said Polamer is working on expanding toward its parking lots, with an ultimate goal of becoming self-sustainable.

With the company’s increasing clientele and projects, he said it needs a place to grow into.

The expansion will increase its current property from 152,000 square feet to 600,000 square feet, said Gioco.

The city-owned property, 655 Alton Brooks Way, has been vacant, underutilized, and maintained by the Office of Property Management for numerous years.

The city hoped to have the property sold for the purpose of generating revenue for the grand list and to reduce its need to maintain the site. It was put on the market over the summer and the initial deal was signed in late October.

Polamer Precision Inc. is a global aerospace manufacturing company specializing in complex aerospace engine components. The company was founded in 1997. In 2014, it built a 152,000-square-foot facility in New Britain and has expanded through the years.

Bill Carroll, the city’s economic development director, said the city was looking for a company in the high tech, industrial or commercial sector to fill the space, and Polamer Precision fit the bill perfectly

“We wanted to make sure that we have a company that will build something that we want and hire local people with good salaries,” he said, adding that a lot of “big box” retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot had expressed interest in the property. But the city wanted a company that would hire local residents and most big retailers don’t tend to work that way.

The property had its first appraisal in 2011. Due to previous city administration rules, Carroll said, the city didn’t hire a broker but relied on word of mouth to let potential buyers know that the property was for sale.

“I would call up brokers to let them know that it’s available and try to get people interested,” he said. Polamer Precision came to the table and the city felt it was the perfect fit.

Alderman Aram Ayalon questioned the timing of the purchase and wondered if the city might be rushing the process, saying higher bids were potentially possible.

Carroll said that, while he understood the question, it comes down to whether the city wants to take the risk.

“It’s a valuable piece of property and we know the company,” he said. “I think it’s a phenomenal option.”

Alderman Kristian Rosado agreed. “When it comes to the city going into certain projects, I think the long-term vision overcomes the sale price. The fact that a lot of New Britain residents will be hired for jobs, in the long run, it’s a win/win situation for the city.”

Contact Catherine Shen at 860-801-5093 or cshen@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Business, New Britain on Wednesday, 4 December 2019 20:52. Updated: Wednesday, 4 December 2019 20:55.