New Lease on Life: Former ACMAT Building, Now ‘The Plaza,’ Seeks Tenants

NEW BRITAIN — Local businesspeople got their first glimpse last week of “The Plaza” in downtown New Britain, formerly known as the ACMAT Building.

By next February, ACMAT’s lease will end and the company will move to Farmington
Originally a contracting firm focused on asbestos abatement, the company moved into the insurance industry when it was dropped by its own insurer. Through its ACSTAR Insurance subsidiary the company handles liability insurance and supply bonds to customers.

Bill Carroll, business development director for the City of New Britain, called ACMAT “a good corporate citizen,” but Tuesday was a whole new day and the debut of one of two prime commercial properties. (According to Carroll, the other is Liberty Square.)

On Tuesday, H.J. Development Group of New York City, the building’s new owner, held a get-acquainted open house for area businesspeople. Brokers were confident the building will attract quality tenants.

Ian Fishkin, attorney, for H.J. Development, called The Plaza “an affordable, luxury space, perfect for a law firm and less expensive than Hartford and the suburbs. The building will be even more desirable once the Downtown Streetscape is fully realized.”

Henry Justin, principal, H.J. Development Group, said his company was open to all types of tenants, large and small; “we have 75,000 square feet we can custom build.” The building comes with an adjacent 500 car parking garage; the Bank of America occupies the ground floor. The owner is willing to subdivide the space any number of ways.

Justin is sold on New Britain as a city that is growing; he says he wants to grow with it.

“We’re committed to a capital improvement of this Class A building,” he said. “We’re in the process of refurbishing the entire HVAC system and making other improvements.”
Reno Properties Group, LLC of Newington is the exclusive broker.

“We have space available on the 5th, 6th and 7th floor,” said broker Michael Gallon. “This building could be a beautiful medical center for the Hospital of Central Connecticut with its central location, easy access and parking garage.”

Gallon said H.J. would also consider a linkage with Central Connecticut State University.

“It could become student housing,” he said. Gallon wants to get the word out to both private companies and government agencies. (Social Security maintains an office in the building.)

Gallon said the asking price is $17 a square foot and it’s negotiable.

“This is the best commercial deal in central Connecticut,” Carroll said.

Scott Whipple can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 319 or swhipple@NewBritainHerald.com.


H.J. Development Group at a Glance…

In February 2011, ACMAT, a New Britain landmark since 1988, sold its seven-story, downtown building to H.J. Development Group of New York City for $2.8 million.

Noted for its first-class restoration and conversion of loft buildings, H.J. Development –according to its Web site–creates high-quality residences and
commercial properties, “with timeless design and graceful proportions.”

In Manhattan, H.J. converted the architecturally significant Cass Gilbert Building on West 30th Street, The Heywood Building on Ninth Avenue and The Parkwood on East 38th Street into much sought-after luxury condominiums.

Its principal, Henry Justin has more than 30 years experience in acquisition, leasing, conversion and property management. Justin has owned and operated more than two million square feet of residential and commercial property in Manhattan. His company is an investor in a multitude projects in Manhattan and the U.S.

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