Composite Energy Technology, doing business as Goetz Composites, is planning a $1.3 million expansion of its 52 Ballou Blvd. facility, allowing it to double its manufacturing space, move its office …
Composite Energy Technology, doing business as Goetz Composites, is planning a $1.3 million expansion of its 52 Ballou Blvd. facility, allowing it to double its manufacturing space, move its office workers out of temporary trailers and grow from about 45 employees to more than 100 in the next year.
Goetz, which designs and builds composite structures for both commercial and military customers, currently has about half the space it needs to meet the increased demand for its product. The scale and scope of the expansion project qualifies Goetz for local tax stabilization, a program that allows the company to phase in the property tax increase that it would incur due to the dramatic increase in value of the property.
It was a request the Bristol Town Council enthusiastically approved last week.
“This Council cleaned up our tax stabilization a few years back to attract new businesses and encourage current businesses to expand what they have, and to grow even larger and deeper roots in Bristol,” said Council Chairman Nathan Calouro at last Wednesday’s council meeting. “This is a way of doing that, and it doesn’t cost the town money. But losing those businesses, or losing those expansions, does cost the town both money and jobs and revenues in a multitude of ways.”
Saving company about $68,000
To apply for tax stabilization, a company must work through the office of Diane Williamson, Bristol’s Community Development director, for approval. The key requirement is that the improvement be “substantial,” defined as more than 50 percent of the value of the current building, at a cost of more than $250,000. The 52 Ballou Blvd. property sits on a piece of land assessed at $235,000, and the current building’s assessment is more than $1.9 million. At more than $1.3 million, the proposed expansion meets and exceeds the Town’s requirements.
Stabilization allows a company to phase in the increased tax over a 10-year period, with 90 percent of the increase exempt from taxation in year one, dropping 10 percent each year. It is estimated that it will create a $68,853.65 incentive to keep Goetz Composites in Bristol for the foreseeable future.
“We are working with them (Goetz) in the Department of Community Development. They will be coming to us for a development plan review within the next few months,” said Ms. Williamson. “One of the other requirements is that they come to the Council and get permission for the tax stabilization before they get a building permit, which they are obviously complying with. They are making substantial improvements to the building, they’re putting on a two-story addition on the front of the building and rehabilitating the existing manufacturing area, to give them more space for manufacturing. So all those criteria enable them to make this request for the 10-year phase-in of their taxes.”
‘Bursting at the seams’
Company president Chase Hogoboom offered the Council some more detail on the company’s plans. “Not only our physical plant expansion but workforce expansion is necessary as well, for a few different reasons,” he said. “We’re bursting at the seams.”
“With our current workforce we’ve been operating out of construction trailers for the past few years. The building was initially designed and built as a warehouse. So we’ve been growing our office space using construction trailers, and I think we have about five of them now, stacked up,” he said. “We need to hire more engineers to support a lot of the work that we’re doing, and really this addition is going to help us attract more higher quality engineers and computer programmers, and so forth, that are supporting our effort.”
In addition, according to Mr. Hogoboom, the Department of Defense, one of their chief clients, has specific compliance requirements that cannot be met in their current space.
“So we’re asking for the tax stabilization plan to help us assist us with some cash flow, which will be reinvested into additive manufacturing equipment to support the efforts which we’re working on,” he said.
The Council was particularly enthusiastic at the prospect of additional skilled jobs coming to town.
“I think this is pretty exciting,” said Councilor Aaron Ley. “When I think about this, I not only think about the good jobs that are being created or that are coming here to Bristol but also the incidental effects of bringing in people from out of state or having lunch downtown. I know that this is an industry that is really on the rise, and I think it’s pretty exciting to be a part of.”
Councilor Tim Sweeney agreed. “I think this is a great story, and I’m really excited for this company taking off … this really helps position them for success, and it helps our community.”
According to Mr. Hogoboom, they anticipate breaking ground as early as April, and hopefully be done with construction by September.