CRANSTON, R.I. — Taco Inc. broke ground in early June on a major building project designed to secure its future in the Ocean State. Company President and CEO John Hazen White Jr. was joined by family members, representatives from the state’s political leadership, guests and employees of Taco for the morning event.
The centerpiece of the $18 million project will be the new Taco Innovation & Development Center, consisting of a two-story 24,037-sq.ft. addition to the current building, a former trolley barn built in 1904. The Innovation & Development Center will be a state-of-the-art learning and training environment, complete with new classroom spaces, conference rooms, a business center, and functional labs for testing and teaching. The center will utilize, display and provide a hands-on learning environment for HVAC equipment and systems. The HVAC products and systems will be visible throughout the entire facility forming “Living Laboratories” that allow for close-up viewing, hands-on learning and teaching.
Taco’s reception area, employee cafeteria and office areas on two floors, encompassing over 24,000-sq.ft. of interior space within the existing building, will undergo extensive floor-to-ceiling renovation, advancing the comfort, functionality and productivity of those areas. There will be new offices, work stations, meeting rooms and open areas illuminated by energy efficient lighting, natural light and the best in indoor comfort.
Architectural design for the project is by Baker Design Group, Boston. Shawmut Design and Construction, Providence, R.I., is the construction manager.
The LEED project, slated for completion during the fall of 2012, will provide the space the company needs to grow and to remain competitive while remaining in Rhode Island, where the company has been operating since 1942.
“Taken together, these major improvements to Taco’s physical infrastructure will provide us with a new home for the coming decades,” said John Hazen White Jr., the third generation owner of Taco. “The new Taco Innovation & Development Center will be a showcase for our industry, where members of our professional community will learn about the latest technology and applications our industry has to offer. We look forward to the completion of this project when we can begin sharing this amazing facility with them.
“With this ambitious project under way, Taco is committing itself further to the growth and success of our employees, our customers and our industry.”
The project, which will extend through five phases of design and construction, will employ 36 subcontracting employers and provide almost 200 jobs for the local economy.