Photo: Alexander Soule / Hearst Connecticut Media
A former Unilever data center in Trumbull is being reimagined as a destination where carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other building trade professionals can get light industrial space and offices, while rubbing elbows with others in adjacent fields.
The Trumbull Tradesmen Center will be located at 55 Merritt Blvd. in Trumbull Corporate Park just off Route 8, with the campus once dominated by Unilever’s East Coast research center that has cut hundreds of jobs in the past few years.
Both office and light industrial space can be had on a month-to-month basis at rates starting at $4 a square foot, to include for light manufacturing and assembly work.
While no shortage of facility options exist for those small businesses — dozens of eastern Fairfield County property owners list industrial and flex spaces for lease on brokerage websites — the Trumbull Tradesmen Center aims to hone an image as a destination for skilled tradespeople.
While office coworking spaces have proliferated throughout southwestern Connecticut and the nation — and in a parallel trend, “maker” spaces that cater to closet tinkerers — equivalent facilities for professional tradespeople have yet to generate equal attention.
Trumbull is home to more than 230 electricians and plumbers alone, according to licensing data on file with the state of Connecticut. Add in more than 500 more in nearby Shelton and Stratford and other tradespeople hunting flex space, and Trumbull Tradesmen Center has a significant number of potential clients orbiting its facility.
According to a schematic online at Trumbulltradesmencenter.com, a total of 24 industrial spaces are available on the first floor ranging from 400 square feet to nearly 10 times that size, with the possibility for larger companies to take multiple spaces. The upper level is ringed by more than 50 offices surrounding a classroom, four conference rooms, a coffee bar and cubicle space for about 100 workers.
The facility totals more than 100,000 square feet of space and offers the added perk of a security fence ringing a parking lot that can accommodate nearly 140 vehicles. Leasing queries are being handled by Northeast Investment Realty, a commercial brokerage firm in Shelton led by principal Bryan Atherton.
At last report, the town of Trumbull listed the building’s owner as Belmar Corp. managed by Elliott Siff of Westport, with the town appraising the property at $6.7 million. In 2015, the facility was put up for auction at a suggested price of $5 million, but an initial bid was scotched after the would-be buyer failed to meet a monetary reserve requirement.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman