Release time : 2015-06-15 12:08:12
After two years of often-contentious negotiations, the city of Torrington, Connecticut will finally move forward with its redevelopment plan for the former Torrington Needle Roller Bearings headquarters and 5.5 acre site at 59 Field Street.
Timken acquired Torrington in 2003 and by 2006 wound down the company's operations in and around Torrington. The state Department of Public Works began negotiations to buy the property for a new Litchfield County Courthouse back in 2006.
Connecticut State Senator, Andrew Raraback, put blame for the delays squarely on Timken's shoulders, saying: "I think the state has had a really difficult time negotiating with Timken. It is a big frustration to me and to all the people of northwestern Connecticut who need this new facility to conduct business."
The county courthouse project, whose budget has grown from $40 to $68.775 million since 2006, has changed dramatically since its inception. Most notably, the former Torrington headquarters building will not be razed as originally planned. Instead, the 43,000 square foot facility will be extensively remodeled.
It will be attached by a walkway over Clark Street to the new 120,000 square foot courthouse to be built on the site of the original Torrington Bearing parking lot.
Torrington Bearing built and moved into its new headquarters on Field Street in 1973, after merging with Ingersoll-Rand. Until then, it had been located in the now-historical Standard Plant.
Ironically, the courthouse project mirrors Litchfield's bearing manufacturing history. The Torrington courthouse will consolidate four other facilities, including a courthouse in Bantam -- just as Torrington Bearing did many years ago with Bantam Ball Bearings and several other local bearing companies.
While the county courthouse project was originally planned more than 30 years ago for Litchfield, residents there scuttled the idea with protests, project delays, difficulty finding land and political infighting, giving it a life of its own. Litchfield had been home to the County Courthouse since 1752.
When originally announced in 2005, the Torrington courthouse project had no specific location, but was scheduled for completion by late 2010 anyway. Planners now expect completion no earlier than 2011 or 2012.
M. Jodi Rell, Connecticut's Governor, said: "We recognize the importance of this project for the people of the City of Torrington and for all of the residents of Litchfield County. We are pleased that the plans for this much-needed modern courthouse are moving ahead, and we look forward to entering the design and construction phase without delay."
Torrington's Field Street property originally covered 33 acres; it is not clear how much of that remains with Timken who specialized in Miniature Bearings, what will be razed, or how it will be repurposed. The parcel acquired by Connecticut DPW has an assessed value of $1.4 million.