The M. Swift and Sons Company Historic District was founded and constructed between 1887 to 1948 in Northeast Hartford, CT. The district’s factory complex, called Swift Factory, consisted of five interconnected buildings and two historic residences. The Swift Factory once functioned as the home of the M. Swift and Sons Company throughout its over one-hundred-year story, making it a significant component of the City’s industrial heritage. Over its history, the products manufactured at the site included gold and silver leaf, hot dye stamping foils, and gold plating products.
Once a hub of economic vitality for the community, the factory was eventually closed and has been vacant for more than a decade. A new vision for revitalization is now emerging. Together with local residents and community organizers, nonprofit Community Solutions is redeveloping the complex to capitalize on the assets of the community and address needs for high quality jobs and community services.
The adaptive reuse of the former Swift Factory will return the vacant manufacturing space into a state-of-the-art facility that provides high quality jobs for residents of the surrounding low-income community. The space includes a commercial food manufacturing kitchen, a food business incubator, community space and nonprofit office space. The project was completed in 2019.
The renewed Swift Factory will host several tenants that provides a range of job opportunities. The project generated 225 full-time-equivalent construction jobs as well as create or retain 150 permanent jobs.
The anchor tenant was the manufacturing arm of Bears Smokehouse Barbecue, a locally-owned Missouri-style barbecue restaurant, condiments and spice producer. Bears Smokehouse anticipates the new location allows them to expand their retail, wholesale, and on-line sales of sauces and meats and expects to create 60 manufacturing jobs with a commitment to hiring members of the local community including individuals with barriers to employment such as those who have been formerly incarcerated.
The Swift Factory also provide space for FreshBox Farms, an established regional hydroponic operator that provides a source of fresh produce for the community. Additional healthy food options was generated through a food business incubator that provides 10 certified food production spaces for local entrepreneurs who has access to a shared commercial cooler/freezer, a co-packing facility and a mentorship/training network for small businesses.
Additional space will host several nonprofit organizations. Initial tenants include Food Corps, Girls for Technology, and Community Solutions. Visiting artists, chefs, storytellers, physicians, and farmers also have access to a dedicated community/art space.
Environmentally sustainable practices such as ecological surface storm water management, water conservation in common areas, improved thermal performance of all onsite windows, air sealing at all openings, high-efficiency HVAC, and energy-efficient light fixtures in common spaces was incorporated into the rehabilitation of Swift Factory.