Looking to bridge the gap between Danbury and Waterbury along the Route 84 corridor, a national real estate group has opened up a new office in the latter community. And earning the exclusive listing of the former Union Carbide site is part of the group’s strategy to bring business to the area.

Garland Warren, senior vice president of Coldwell Banker Commercial CCS – Scalzo Group announced last week that the group has expanded its commercial real estate operation with the opening of a branch office at 922 Chase Parkway in Waterbury.

Broker/Manager Jack M. Lynch said the new office is a natural progression for the Scalzo Group in that it will bridge the Danbury to Waterbury corridor and strengthen the company’s commitment to the Greater Waterbury area.

“Coldwell Banker Commercial CCS – Scalzo Group is excited to extend its presence into Waterbury,” added Doug Rose, a Waterbury resident and vice president of operations for the Scalzo Group. “This expansion will enable us to continue to grow our commercial real estate presence in the Waterbury area and enable us to better serve our customers in this market.”

The Scalzo Group, Coldwell Banker Commercial’s Connecticut franchise, currently keeps its headquarters in the town of Bethel, which is adjacent to Danbury. Lynch stressed that it wasn’t a slow market in Danbury that sparked the expansion, but rather a strong market in Waterbury and a desire to keep pressing forward.

“The Waterbury market has become a more attractive area price-wise,” said Lynch. “A lot of companies see Waterbury as a desirable location these days, and it’s created a natural progression of companies moving east to west up the 22-mile stretch of Route 84.

“Properties are simply more affordable up there, and there are a lot of good things going on in the city right now. So as the growth continues up there, we’ll continue our growth as well.”

‘A Big Plus’

For the last few years Coldwell Banker Commercial CCS (an abbreviation for Commercial Corporate Services) has been looking to the Scalzo Group to franchise throughout the state of Connecticut. Lynch noted that the group has been spending the last several months analyzing different areas outside of Danbury to determine which location would best fit its strategy.

Paul Scalzo, president of the group, has been located in the Danbury area since the late 1980s when he started with Scalzo Realty. Jumping from there to a Century 21 franchise, to a Century 21 Commercial franchise, and finally at Coldwell Banker Commercial, “We’ve evolved over the years through descendent franchises,” said Lynch.

“Right now in Waterbury there are probably four or five different commercial real estate companies, none of whom have the national name attached,” he said. “Our competition is going to be smaller, private commercial real estate groups, and we’re the first in a long time to come in with a national name – and I think that’s going to be a big plus.”

Lynch added, “There are a lot of large pieces in downtown that need help, and I think we’re the ones to provide it.”

While Waterbury’s office market isn’t the most thriving in the state, its industrial and retail markets remain strong. With the 150-store Brass City Mall and “a ton of old industrial buildings,” according to Lynch, Waterbury will present several opportunities for the new firm.

“We’re basically trying to bridge the gap between Danbury and Waterbury,” he said. “We have Bridgeport to the south and Torrington to the north along Route 8, so it’s easy to get to a lot of places from Waterbury. Our reach should be pretty good from that location. With a half-hour drive to Hartford and a half-hour drive to Bridgeport, we’ll be right in the center of a lot of things.”

Lynch said his group has been eyeing industrial buildings in Waterbury’s downtown, with several different uses in mind. The group has been working with the economic development director in Waterbury to determine what would be the best uses for the city.

“One of our guys [Rose] … lives in Waterbury, so he can offer us some interesting insight,” said Lynch. “There’s a lot of good energy around here and I’ve got a good feeling about the move.”

The new office is technically up and running, with Lynch doing double duty between Danbury and Waterbury. Right now there are a few staff members on board spending two or three days a week in the new office, and the group has been actively recruiting in the area to fill out the ranks.

Helping to bridge the gap between the two cities is a recent transaction in which the group received the exclusive listing of the Union Carbide site in Danbury. The 546-acre site is the home of a mixed-development project.

“We’re getting a lot of activity from that site, and it’s going to help us jump people to Waterbury. It’s going to increase our activity in the area,” said Lynch.

The site plans include 1.5 million square feet of office space, 35,000 square feet of retail space and 2,200 homes. There are also plans for a small baseball stadium to be built.

“It’s the acreage surrounding the old Union Carbide headquarters, and we transacted the project last summer. We’ve got the listing on development for the next 10 years. You can imagine that the folks at Coldwell are pretty excited about it,” said Lynch.

Coldwell Banker Commercial has independently owned and operated affiliate real estate offices in more than 325 markets throughout the world and is considered an industry leader in providing commercial real estate solutions and managing commercial real estate property.