A $7.5 million renovation at the former Ardagh Group glass bottle plant in Milford continues into the fall. “Whatever the outcome is it’s better than the status quo,” said Gregory Schain of New Mill Capital.
MILFORD — New jobs could be on the horizon for Milfordians, as a $7.5 million renovation at the former Ardagh Group glass bottle plant continues into the fall.
“It’s going to be a very modern facility when it’s done,” said Gregory Schain, the principal at New Mill Capital, which bought the 34-acre property in December.
About 250 people working at the National Street factory lost jobs when owner Ardagh Group closed it in March 2018. Executives said a decline in demand for glass bottles in the beer industry was a driving force behind the closure.
In December 2018, Ardagh sold the now 47-year-old building and property to New Mill Capital for $4.1 million, about half its assessed value. Since then, New Mill Capital has spent millions turning the 322,000-square-foot facility into a distribution center with 12 loading docks.
“It was this tough old manufacturing plant in really bad shape, and I think it takes a special owner to bring this building back to life with a modern purpose that’s in high demand,” said Project Captain Jason McLevy, who works for the design and construction firm on the project, Natick-based Dacon. “It’s good for the country, and it’s good for America to see; out of something old and outdated arises a new purpose.”
Representatives from both companies said the decision to build a distribution center in Milford is a response to demand for such facilities in and around Boston. Dacon hopes to have the facility ready for occupancy by the end of the year. It’s designed for two tenants, but that design is flexible, McLevy said.
“It went from 200 jobs to zero jobs to who knows, at least 100 depending on the tenant,” he said of the site’s history and possible future.
A good employment base is one of the perks to tenants choosing the space in Milford, Schain said. It’s also a good location in terms of its proximity to cities, he said, and the town has a reputation for being business-friendly.
The property can also make use of a railroad spur, which could mean future tenants won’t add significant trucking traffic to Milford roads.
Schain said he’s not yet sure which company or companies will move into the new building, though he’s seen interest as the building gets closer to completion.
“There’s a variety of different types of business that are taking a close look at it,” he said. “Everything from warehouse to manufacturing uses. It kind of runs the gamut.”
Town officials said they’re waiting to see who the tenant or tenants are before they comment.
“I really don’t have any comment until I know what they’re planning there,” Board of Selectmen Chairman William Buckley said. “It isn’t clear to me what exactly is going there.”
Town Planner Larry Dunkin agreed that he’d want to hear the specific use of the site before weighing in.
“I think no matter who our tenant is, it’s certainly much more favorable for the town than the blighted property that was there,” Schain said. “I can’t guarantee the ideal tenant, but whatever the outcome is it’s better than the status quo.”
Demolition at the site began in May, McLevy said.