The award that William Allen received this week paid tribute to work he has already done, and steps he’s already taken.
When you talk to Allen, who's the head of W.R. Allen Co., Inc., you find that while he's pleased to receive the award, what interests him is what’s coming.
The Economic Development Commission award noted the significant contributions Allen has made to Montville, to improving the esthetics of the town and helping Montville’s economic development.
Town Councilor Chuck Longton, who headed the Economic Development Commission before he was voted in as a councilor, made the presentation during Monday's Town Council meeting. Longton spoke about the buildings Allen has put up at 80 and 88 Norwich-New London Turnpike, and what a difference they’ve made to Montville.
Not only do they improve the look of the town, Longton said, in presenting the award, but they also house nine businesses between them.
And that concept – housing businesses – is Allen’s current focus.
In the Montville Professional Building, at 80 Norwich-New London Turnpike, Allen has started a business-incubation project.
In 2,500 square feet of the building, he is offering to rent space that includes furniture, utilities, use of a conference room and break room, and cleaning services for the common areas.
The tenant would bring his own computer, and pay for data and phone lines.
Allen has sent out 1,700 flyers through the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, but the idea “hasn’t really caught fire yet,” he says.
Nine spaces will be available, from 100 square feet, up to 200 square feet. The monthly charge will vary with the size of the office, but will run between $750 and $1,000 a month, with a one-year lease.
“It’s a new space in a modern building, with an elevator,” he says. And it’s ideal for a business that is just getting off the ground, or one that’s downsizing. The rent is in line with square-foot charges, he says, and the businessperson knows his or her exact costs before starting out.
Allen says there are thousands of business operating out of their homes, in southeastern Connecticut. And while that can save costs, it can be difficult. “It takes a special person to run their business out of their home,” he says.
He’s excited about the project, and hopes that it will catch on soon.
Allen doesn’t see things picking up in the building and housing market, not around here.
“The car dealers are picking up,” he says, “and that’s a good sign. They were the first thing to go. That helps us. We deal with big-ticket items like car dealers do. We still have a lot of foreclosures,” he says. “That’s what keeping the prices down.”