If you are thinking about owning a business in New Britain, you might want to do it fast, as space is filling up quickly.
“Right now there is a lack of industrial space,” said Bill Carroll, economic development director. “On John Downey Drive we have 411 & 155 for sale and one small space that is on again, off again. Our industrial space availablility is as low as it’s been in years.”
Someone recently looked for 40,000 square feet for a business and there is none that large available for an industrial business.
“It is a catch-22 as we could be losing opportunities or we are happy there is no inventory as our buildings are full,” said Carroll. “Two of the most sought after properties (for lease) are Hartford Square (filled) and one building that was only 30-35 percent occupied a few years ago was 33-35 John St. We basically filled that.”
Some businesses moving to John St. were Aero Manufacturing, J & R Manufacturing, and Simple Recycling. The reasons those two locations were very popular was because the buildings are in good shape. Other places need a lot of build-out or are unsuitable for manufacturing.
“Ten years ago we had a boatload of space,” Carroll added. “When I received phone calls in the past, I told them we had it. Now we don’t always have it. People say that they drive by all these vacant buildings. I ask where?”
On the retail side space is dwindling as well.
A storage space is going in on Farmington Ave. to fill what was the largest available space. The old Mitch’s could be available soon and it could be broken up into thirds for three retail spaces.
The old Burritt Bank on Main St. could have retail and restaurant space.
Columbus Commons, to be built at the old police station, plans for commercial space and possibly a restaurant or a coffee shop. That appears to be over a year away.
As far as office space, there is still plenty of spots available.
The Plaza just sold to CMHA and they are expected to fill most of it, but Court and Main Street above Sir Speedy has three floors that are vacant.
Restaurants have been encouraged downtown, but Carroll said people are needed on the streets in order for them to be successful. He said when people fill up The Plaza, businesses downtown will be more successful.
There is not a lot of vacant space for restaurants as buildings need to be adapted and it isn’t cost effective.
“We’ve had great relationships from all the offices in City Hall and that has been key,” said Carroll. “Overall our weakest area, like everybody else across the region, is office. Our industrial is very strong even though we don’t have a lot of it. We’ve done extremely well on our real estate side as far as in the downtown area. I have witnessed more sales in the past year than probably in my entire career.”
To see the complete list of properties available in the City, go to newbritainct.gov. Then go to City services and click on economic development. Under that look for available real estate.