ACMAT Building Sold for 2.8M

NEW BRITAIN — One of the most recognizable buildings downtown has been sold.

The seven-story building at 1 Acmat Plaza was purchased recently by HJ Development LLC of New York City for $2.8 million. The 75,000-square-foot building serves as headquarters for the seller, Acmat Corp.

The building as of Tuesday had an 80 percent occupancy rate, with tenants including Bank of America, the state’s Social Security Administration, and the state workers compensation office. Acmat will retain the top two floors and part of the third floor. C.B. Richard Ellis Group of Los Angeles represented Acmat and Colliers Dow Condon of Hartford represented HJ Development, which invests heavily in real estate.

Acmat will be leasing space back from the buyer for two years. Its president and CEO, Henry Nozko Jr., said in two years a decision will be made about where to relocate company headquarters. Acmat has purchased commercial property in Farmington.

“We may construct new headquarters on that property,” Nozko said. “Or we might purchase a building in Farmington and renovate it to meet our needs. You can buy buildings cheaper now and renovate (rather) than construct them.”

Nozko said because the company has changed over 20 years the building doesn’t “really fit us anymore. We would have had to redo this building if we stayed.”

Acmat installs and renovates building interiors. The company also provides commercial insurance for contractors, engineers and other construction specialists. Its insurance underwriting is done mainly by its two subsidiaries: United Coastal Insurance and Acstar Insurance Co. Their broad market base includes both commercial and public facilities. The company, formed in 1951, relocated to New Britain from East Hartford in 1982. It has a staff of 25 employees,
The sale of 1 Acmat Plaza also created a sizable tax loss for Acmat.

“Our client base is now all over the country,” Nozko said. “We wanted to get closer to Bradley International Airport (in Hartford). But we’ll be here for two more years.”

Nozko said the lease for Bank of America runs until 2013. The Social Security office lease runs through 2018. The lease for the workers compensation office is up next year.

Henry Justin of HJ Development LLC called New Britain “a welcoming city. We believe we have potential for excellent office space and like the proximity to the courthouse. We’ll make ourselves accessible to professionals. We think the city is beautiful and the pricing was significant.”
Mayor Timothy Stewart said Acmat has been a benefit to the city. “I wish them the best wherever they decide to go.”

Gerry Amodio, director of the New Britain Downtown District, said sale of the Acmat building shows that, “New Britain is really hitting the radar with this building. It’s been well maintained by the Nozkos. That says positive things about the city and its future.”

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