June 18, 2012 | last updated June 19, 2012 1:51 pm

UTC expands Farmington footprint

HBJ Photo / Greg Bordonaro
HBJ Photo / Greg Bordonaro
United Technologies Corp. leased the entire 108,000 square foot office building at 8 Farm Springs Rd. in Farmington.

United Technologies Corp. is expanding its Farmington footprint in a big way.

The Hartford conglomerate has finalized a deal to lease the entire 108,000-square-foot office building formerly occupied by The Hartford Financial Services Group.

With the long-term lease of the two-story Class A office building at 8 Farm Springs Rd., UTC continues to fill in nearly all the one-mile space between U.S. Route 6 and Interstate 84 in Farmington, where the company now occupies more than 500,000 square feet of office space, realty sources say.

The recently signed deal represents one of the largest new office leases — both in square footage and dollar value — completed in Hartford County in the past few years, sources say, providing a major shot in the arm to what has been a dormant market.

UTC officials declined to comment for this story, so terms of the deal and the company's intentions for the new space remain unclear. Realty sources say it's a long-term lease for over 10 years, and the company will likely consolidate some existing operations into the facility. It will also serve as additional space.

An official from Cushman & Wakefield, which represented UTC in the deal, also declined to comment.

Whatever the company decides to move into the new space will be right at home on Farm Springs Road with other UTC subsidiaries.

Elevator and escalator manufacturer Otis Elevator is headquartered at 10 Farm Springs Road. UTC Fire & Security is headquartered at 9 Farm Springs Road. Heating and cooling equipment manufacturer Carrier Corp. is at One Carrier Place in Farmington, less than a quarter mile from the eastern end of Farm Springs Road.

The office space expansion comes at a time when UTC is restructuring its subsidiaries as part of its $16.4 billion acquisition of North Carolina aerospace component supplier Goodrich Corp.

Carrier will be combined into Fire & Security to create UTC Climate, Controls and Security Systems. Goodrich will be combined with East Hartford jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney and Windsor Locks aerospace and industrial supplier Hamilton Sundstrand into UTC Propulsion and Aerospace Systems.

UTC also is rumored to consider selling parts or all of certain subsidiaries such as Hamilton Sundstrand or Windsor Locks clean energy manufacturer UTC Power.

The North Carolina state government is offering in excess of $16 million for UTC to put in a regional headquarters there.

Despite its increasing globalization, UTC officials have repeatedly remained committed to Connecticut — home to Carrier, Otis, Pratt, Hamilton, UTC Power, UTC Fire & Security, Stratford helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford.

Officials at the Fortune 50 company have said even though production work may shift to other low-cost or strategic worldwide locations, UTC plans to keep major research and development work in Connecticut.

Some production work has stayed in the state as well, such as the announcement from Pratt in May that it will perform final assembly and inspection work for one of the main versions of its next generation of jet engine — called the geared turbofan, or PurePower — at its Middletown facility.

UTC's lease at 8 Farm Springs Rd. provides a similar boost for the Greater Hartford commercial real estate market.

The Class A office complex has been vacant since The Hartford Financial Services Group moved its employees out of the building late last year and likely would have remained vacant for years to come without the UTC deal, real estate sources predicted.

Realty sources also say UTC has been running out of room at some of its office buildings around the state, including in East Hartford and Windsor Locks. And in some cases, the company is forcing vendors that operate on UTC properties to seek space at other locations.

Ohio-based Belcan Engineering Group Inc., for example, recently moved out of space it occupied on UTC subsidiary Hamilton Sundstrand's campus in Windsor Locks, to a nearby location at 175 Addison Rd. in Windsor. The company occupies 47,000 square feet at its new location, sources say.

Belcan Engineering also occupies space on Pratt's East Hartford campus and is preparing to move out of that location as well, sources say. The company has been searching for 30,000 square feet of space and is considering a move to Rocky Hill, sources say. Belcan officials did not return a call for comment.

Other vendors situated on UTC property are being asked to look for space elsewhere, sources say. Meanwhile, the new lease will provide a boost to the Greater Hartford suburban west market, which saw its Class A vacancy rate reach 23 percent at 2011's end.

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