By Stanley Blow III | December 24, 2015
Government projects have been in the spotlight lately in Waterbury — the new $5 million municipal complex, and the $130 million makeover of the State Office Complex that will again be home to 1,200 state workers.
But private development projects have been moving right along, too. Among them are a headquarters building for SunCommon, a coffee center on Route 100 in Waterbury Center, and housing on Blush Hill and Perry Hill.
In just under four years, SunCommon — a local solar installation company — has grown from 16 employees to 65.
The growth is especially evident at all-company staff meetings on Monday mornings.
Initially, all the employees could fit around a single table in the company’s rented space at the Energy Mill in Waterbury Center. Now, SunCommon has to book space at the Best Western Plus in Waterbury for everyone to fit into the room.
Local developer Pat Malone is working on a new 14,000-square-foot office building for SunCommon on Route 2, on land that’s been used in the past for a flea market.
Malone will lease about 60 percent of the building —8,500 square feet — to SunCommon, and hopes to rent the rest to other businesses.
Much like SunCommon’s current space, the new building will be net-zero, meaning it will produce as much energy as it uses, said company co-founder Duane Peterson.
The roof will have solar panels, and everything — right down to the heating system — will be sun-powered.
“If we wanted to burn fossil fuels, we’d have to pour them on the ground and light them,” Peterson said of the new building.
The company will install charging stations for the electric cars in its fleet; the chargers will also be available for public use.
The new office will be close to downtown, which will give employees easy access to shops and restaurants, which should, in turn, help out the village economy, Peterson said.
Malone said the offices could be completed as soon as next spring, especially given the unseasonably mild weather this year. “I sent a letter to the weather gods, and they’re cooperating,” Malone said.