City lures Farmington biz to business park

August 29, 2014

By LISA CAPOBIANCO
STAFF WRITER
The Southeast Bristol Business Park will soon become the permanent home of a German-based company that specializes in spindle manufacturing and repair. GMN USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GMN, plans to relocate its U.S. operation to Lot no. 4 in the business park.
Last Tuesday, GMN USA President Gary Quirion, along with company owner Michael Loesch and Mayor Ken Cockayne established a real estate agreement for the lot, which is the third lot to be sold in the park.
Justin Malley, executive director of the Bristol Development Authority, said the discussion of GMN USA coming to Bristol began last summer when the company sent an e-mail to Bristol Development Authority and other communities in the area, looking for new space. Malley responded to the message immediately and met with the company the next day, informing GMN about the Southeast Bristol Business Park.
Although the company initially looked for an existing building, GMN USA decided to construct a 25,000 square foot facility to house 18 skilled employees. GMN also received approval to build a 20,000 square foot addition to the property in the future that can serve as the home for the company’s ball bearing operation currently based overseas.
Malley said once closing takes place on the property in September, construction will begin soon after that.
Established in 1998, GMN USA is currently located on New Britain Avenue in Farmington with core markets including aerospace and automobile sectors. GMN in Germany began in 1908, and produces high-performing machine-tool spindles, high precision ball bearings, non-contact seals, and drive technology components.
“They’re a global company, and those are the kinds of companies we want to encourage to sell in Bristol,” said Malley, adding how GMN can serve as a type of Bristol ambassador in the manufacturing community. “GMN, in this industry, is known for providing a high-end product.”
Quirion said GMN looks forward to the company’s new venture in Bristol.
He added the location of the business park serves the needs of GMN USA, especially since it is near the ESPN.
“It is just a business-friendly atmosphere,” said Quirion, a lifelong resident of Bristol. “A city that size has amenities that other communities didn’t have.”
Malley said the Bristol Development Authority board and other city departments have also played an instrumental role in the process of GMN’s relocation to Bristol. Long-time BDA Commissioner Mickey Goldwasser said Bristol serves as a great place to have a business, and the board could not be more excited about GMN’s decision to relocate there.
“They could have gone anywhere,” said Goldwasser, adding how GMN’s decision to expand shows optimism. “Bristol is in a great location—it’s easy to get to…it also to me, illustrates the willingness of Bristol and the city to work with them, and we’re excited that companies like them are buying into our message.”
Even before meeting with Bristol Development Authority, GMN USA established a relationship with the Bristol Technical Education Center, recruiting and hiring employees who are graduates from the school’s manufacturing training program. Quirion said GMN USA has been pleased with the work of the Bristol Tech graduates.
“Overall, we’re pleased with the candidacy that came in,” said Quirion.
“A lot of the times many of those students live in Bristol already, so you have that tie to Bristol,” said Malley.
“Just like we see the potential in GMN, GMN sees the potential in Bristol,” added Goldwasser, who has worked in the marketing industry for more than 25 years.
Located in the southeastern section of Bristol on the easterly side of Middle
Street (Route 220), the business park, which consists of 52 acres, has been open for the past ten years or so. Currently, said Malley, Precision Threaded Products occupies Lot No. 7 of the park with a building of 16,550 square feet. PTP manufactures precision parts, including fasteners and studs for the aerospace industry. CMI Specialty Products, a provider of electromagnetic iron strip and round bar for a variety of industries, is located at Lot No. 12. Operating out of a facility of 11,180 square feet, CMI is planning a 7,000 square foot building expansion. The BDA board also recently permitted manufacturer Total Wall Systems to work on the site design of Lot No. 6 for a period of time. Total Wall Systems manufactures exterior wall systems.
Malley said each lot in the park is priced competitively and there also are other incentives involved, including grant and tax abatement opportunities.
“We have some activity—I hope it’s a domino effect at this point,” said Malley. “As the economy revolves, we hope that companies that may have been holding off on an expansion or relocation are comfortable enough to look at not only relocation, but also new construction.”
Goldwasser said the timing of GMN USA’s relocation is on Bristol’s side, considering the business park did not have much luck when it initially began during a downward trend of the economy.
“There’s probably still a long way to go, but we are starting to see this renaissance or recovery going on in the economy,” said Goldwasser. “It was all about timing…the vision was to provide a great location for businesses to come into Bristol.”
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