January 11, 2017

Businesses are moving into empty spaces in Enfield

HBJ PHOTO | John Stearns
HBJ PHOTO | John Stearns
Krystyna Paluch, owner and CEO of Phoenix Manufacturing Inc., which is expanding in Enfield.

With the recent sales of several vacant business properties in town, the local economy is showing signs of improvement, the town's community development director says.

Peter Bryanton confirmed Monday the sales or pending sales of multiple business properties — one to a developer and two to businesses looking to expand operations.

Bryanton said that Preferred Display Inc., a New Jersey-based company that makes cosmetics displays used in department stores, recently purchased the former Olympia Sales building at 215 Moody Road, which he said has been mostly vacant for over 10 years.

Bryanton said the company outgrew its location in South Windsor and is looking to consolidate its local operations. He said the company would bring 150 jobs, which would consist of a mix of existing jobs, relocations, and new hires.

He also said that Phoenix Manufacturing Inc., which produces aircraft parts at a South Road location, is looking to expand its operations and is in the process of buying the former 3M building at 250 South Road. Bryanton said the new space is four times the size of Phoenix's current space, and, though he said he wasn't sure whether the company's plans were concrete yet, said the company is "most likely adding jobs."

Bryanton said the interest in the vacant properties points to positive movement in the local economy.

"I think generally it says the economy is getting better," he said. "We're seeing movement on real estate we haven't seen in years, especially in the commercial and industrial sectors."

Despite major setbacks this year with anchor stores like Macy's and Sears closing their Enfield Square Mall stores, the town has caught the eye of big-time developers like Winstanley, which has developed more than 40 projects in Connecticut since 1994, including Alexion Pharmaceuticals' $200 million world headquarters in New Haven and ESPN's north campus in Bristol.

Bryanton said that Winstanley, which purchased the 325-acre former Hallmark site in June — and secured two out-of-state tenants for the facility, including one Fortune 500 company — recently purchased the Lego campus from a Boston-based development group. In addition to Lego's U.S. headquarters, the property also hosts distribution centers for Advance Auto Parts and Coca-Cola.

He said Winstanley was also exploring the possibility of purchasing a 50-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Moody Road and North Main Street.

Bryanton said Enfield's recent business developments, as well as distribution centers for Amazon and Dollar Tree in Windsor, show that the area — with its location between New York City and Boston — is "acting as a regional distribution area."

"This is becoming a warehousing and distribution corridor," he said.

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