The Day: EB Engineers, Designers, Purchasers Move Into Former Pfizer Building In Groton
GROTON — Close to 600 Electric Boat employees are now working at the company's new facility at 9 Kings Highway, purchased from Pfizer for $5.3 million last year to accommodate growth at the company.
The growth at EB is being driven by the largest shipbuilding contract in Navy history — $17.6 billion — awarded to EB to produce 10 Virginia-class attack submarines, and significant increases in work on the Ohio-class Replacement Program, the next generation of ballistic missile submarines, and design of the Virginia Payload Module, which will enable the next block of Virginia-class submarines to have more payload capacity.
In the past six months, the 85,000-square-foot former warehouse was converted to office space to accommodate those in the purchasing, engineering and design fields. The building at one point housed a Caldor store, the discount retail chain that went out of business in 1999. Although technically located in the town, the building is a stone's throw away from the border with Groton city, where EB has its main campus.
Initially, 200 employees moved to the new building, just before Christmas; the move was completed during the company's holiday shutdown between Christmas and New Year's.
The areas previously occupied by the employees will be retained and repurposed over time, according to Dan Barrett, an EB spokesman.
EB's purchase and renovation of the building is part of an ongoing $31.5 million project, announced in October 2014, to expand and improve its facilities in Groton and New London. Then, EB President Jeffrey Geiger — flanked by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Governor Dannel P. Malloy — discussed the company's expected growth over the next 15 years.
The Department of Economic and Community Development provided a $10 million loan toward the $31.5 million project, with EB paying for the remainder of it. Malloy said at the time that the loan would be provided at an interest rate of 2 percent for a 10-year term.
Despite the company's spending of tens of millions a year on its facilities, Geiger said during the October 2014 news conference, the build-out and acquisition of the property would not have happened without the state's support.