Published: 4/25/2021 2:32:34 PM
One of the lessons of the pandemic is that many people can work from home, but an engineering firm will be moving into one of Concord’s historic downtown buildings, because sometimes it’s better when they don’t.
“We’re generally a work-from-home business,” said Bill Wilcox of Wilcox & Barton, an environmental engineering company that will be moving into the former Monitor Statesman Building at 10 Pleasant St. “But now we’re investing in civil engineering, and civil engineers like to be together. … It’s more collaborative, easier to share plans and concepts.
“We’ve also found that junior staff needed more hands-on mentoring.”
The building housed an earlier iteration of the Concord Monitor from 1912 to 1929 and has been home to many businesses since. In February 2020, developer Steve Duprey announced that it would be made over to house Wilcox & Barton, a process that has been delayed by COVID-19.
Wilcox said the company hopes to move in by the end of the year. Final permits were given by the Planning Department this week, and the company is awaiting news about historical preservation tax credits and project finance.
“It’s a complete gut, over $1 million in renovation. It’s been taken down to the walls,” Wilcox said. That includes removing the systems used by the now-defunct Concord Steam Co. to heat the building as well as asbestos.
Among the finds, he said, are holes in the basement foundation that looks as if it held heavy equipment, possibly the printing press used by the Monitor Statesman.
“The bones of the building are just tremendous, the structural integrity is tremendous,” he said.
The exterior will not change, except for signs.
Wilcox & Barton was founded in 2000 and is now managing “over 100 sites” in New Hampshire, Wilcox said. It has an accounting office in Londonderry. “Concord seems to be the center of our business practice,” which is why they decided to move here.
“We really want to be downtown. It’s a great environment, with the new improvements downtown. All the engineers really appreciate working there,” he said.
The building is about 5,000 square feet on two floors, plus the basement. Wilcox said they expect between half a dozen and 20 employees to be in the building at any one time, “and when we grow the group it can certainly hold 30.”
(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or [email protected] or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)