Faria Beede looks to sell Pink Row mill complex

Faria Beede Instruments Inc., formerly known as Thomas G. Faria Corp., is trying to sell its Pink Row facility in Uncasville. (Day file photo)
Faria Beede Instruments Inc., formerly known as Thomas G. Faria Corp., is trying to sell its Pink Row facility in Uncasville. (Day file photo)

Montville — A longtime Montville manufacturer is seeking to sell its 11-acre Pink Row property to a development company that plans to convert it into residential properties.

The 200-year-old mill complex that for more than 50 years has housed Faria Beede Instruments Inc. — formerly known as Thomas G. Faria Corp. — is an “inefficient” home for the company, Chief Executive Officer David M. Hickey said Thursday.

The factory produces speedometers and other gauges that measure things such as fuel, temperature or pressure in vehicles and boats, and systems that transmit engine data for military, commercial and industrial vehicles.

The nine-building complex is overcrowded and doesn't have enough storage space, and became even more cramped when Thomas G. Faria Corp. acquired Beede Instruments in 2013, Hickey said.

"It is extremely inefficient operating in a 200-year-old building, and space has become insufficient," Hickey said in an email.

A Massachusetts development company, Dakota Partners, plans to buy the property and has filed an application with the town for a zone change to accommodate a residential development.

The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the application at an Aug. 9 special meeting.

Dakota Partners did not respond for requests for comment Thursday.

The zoning change application is one step in Faria Beede’s attempt to sell the mill complex and upgrade to a more modern facility — something the company has been trying to do for several years, Hickey said Thursday.

The proposed sale to Dakota Partners depends on the zoning change and a number of other factors falling into place, and could take up to two years, he said.

Dakota Partners also has applied for a federal low-income housing grant that may have to be approved before the sale goes through, Hickey said.

He said that while he is considering a number of properties in the area, he won’t actively be seeking a new location for the company until Faria Beede can find a buyer for the Pink Row property.

If the company does move its headquarters, Hickey said he would prefer to stay in southeastern Connecticut, if not Montville itself, because many of the company's 235 employees live in the New London area.

"I would love to stay as close as possible to the existing building," he said. "It’s logical sense — if you look at it from an employee standpoint ... many of our people have been here 30 years."

In a letter sent to employees Thursday, Hickey emphasized that a move into a new facility is contingent on the sale of the Pink Row complex.

"Until the property sells, we will continue to operate out of these buildings," he wrote. "And if it sells, we will begin looking for a more suitable facility. It has always been our intention to find a building close to here in order to minimize your commute."

A plan to build a new manufacturing facility on the Pink Row grounds in 2014 fell through when the company did not receive a state grant for construction, Hickey said.

Part of the redevelopment work was funded by a $3.5 million loan Faria received from the state in 2012, but Hickey said the company never got an additional loan it needed to complete the new facility.

Montville Mayor Ronald McDaniel said town officials plan to work with Faria Beede during its attempts to sell the property, and will do what they can to keep the company within Montville's borders.

"We'll continue to work with them to see if we can't keep them here," McDaniel said. "There's a lot of things we can do to help, depending on the specific circumstances."

m.shanahan@theday.com

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