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Mill Street Building Renovations Underway at Former Pioneer Ball Bearing, Upson Nut Company Site

Here's a sneak peek!

The second floor of 29 Mill Street in Unionville. Credit: Jessie Sawyer
The second floor of 29 Mill Street in Unionville. Credit: Jessie Sawyer

A month into Village Artisan Galleries' restoration work on two long-vacant former manufacturing buildings along the Farmington River in Unionville, managing broker Brian Lyman of PB Parker Benjamin said that he's already gotten many inquiries about the commercial and residential spaces.

Within the next year, Mill Street will look very different from the construction scene you see driving down it now between renovations at the former Pioneer Ball Bearing and The Upson Nut Company site at 29 Mill Street and the separate Walgreens project next door. The former manufacturing buildings have been vacant for about 20 years, Lyman said. Unionville Center will not only have a second national pharmacy chain but also a slew of new business spaces and five new apartments in the adjacent buildings Village Artisan Galleries is developing. 

"A brewmaster, coffee roaster, fly-fishing school & tackle store, jewelry maker, glass blower, painter, photography studio, real estate office, mortgage broker, doctor office, gym, furniture manufacturer, vintage store, American bistro restaurant, beauty salon, kitchen remodeler, palates studio, and numerous area artists have voiced an interest in relocating to our building," Lyman wrote in an email to Patch. 

The larger building was previously approved for 14 residential units and was re-approved for galleries, shops and offices, former Farmington Town Planner Jeff Ollendorf previously said. 

During Farmington Patch's visit to the site on Tuesday, Lyman said that the commercial building will likely house up to 10 tenants, including galleries, shops and other businesses. Two brewpubs have expressed interest in the building. Lyman expects the commercial building to be ready by the spring. The building is 18,000 square feet. 

The developers stripped and sandblasted the floors and "exposed the timbers," Lyman said. The developers are in the process of redoing the ceilings. The windows will be replaced and Connecticut Light & Power will "energize" the building on Thursday. The gas company has already brought gas to the buildings and the developers are waiting on the water company to come by. Wood from Sigfridson saw mill in Brooklyn, CT is being used for the buildings.

The smaller building next door being converted into five apartments will likely be ready for occupancy in January, he said. A number of the units are already reserved, he said. 

The largest apartment on the upper floor will be 1,500 square feet with a balcony and and the smallest one-bedroom apartment is 1,000 square feet. 

The manufacturing buildings being restored were built around the 1860s were used to produce "ball bearings, nuts and bolts" that were shipped around the world, Lyman said. Some can even still be found on site. Pioneer Ball Bearing and The Upson Nut Company were the "two of the most notable occupants," Lyman said.  

"An interesting artifact of pre-1900 manufacturing will remain in the building. A belt pulley drive system, once powered by the Farmington River, exists in the second floor rafters," he said. 

For more information, visit http://www.villageartisangalleries.com or contact Lyman at 860-983-0979 or BLyman@ParkerBenjamin.com. 

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