An Inside Look at Danbury’s Union Carbide Building Then and Now
It was a showplace of international commerce and a building that was an architectural wonder, it was Union Carbide, and its new location was Danbury, Connecticut.
The year was 1976 and thousands of workers at Union Carbides 50 story corporate office building in New York City were told they would soon be making their way to Danbury, Connecticut. It was one of the largest corporate moves of its time.
Some 3,300 workers were set to make the trek up I-684 and onto I-84 for a few exits to their new corporate office.
Construction began in 1980 and by 1983, the unusual building was ready for the onslaught of workers as a small rural city in Connecticut would now play host to one of the largest corporations in the country.
That same year that the building opened, Union Carbide released a promotional video extolling the magnitude of the company's world headquarters.
The joy and excitement of the highly talked about move and building didn't last long. According to wikipedia.com, in late 1984, a pesticide plant Union Carbide, owned and operated in the town of Bhopal, India, released a cloud of poison gas that settled over the town. About 500,000 people breathed its fumes. The government of India's final accounting was that the gas release killed 3,787 people. Other estimated said the death toll could be as high as 15,000, with at least another 100,000 injured.
That one incident marked the beginning of the end of Union Carbide's dominance on the world stage, and more importantly the beginning of the downsizing of Carbide's brand new Danbury facility.
Following several corporate realignments, Carbide finally transferred ownership of the building to a Florida Company and by 1992, even the building's name had changed and the Union Carbide Corporate Headquarters was now just know as the Corporate Center. Office space was rented out to other companies in the area.
Finally in 2001, it was all over for Union Carbide in Danbury and the company and building was purchased by the Dow Chemical Company. It remained in Dow's hands until 2007, and by 2009 the building was sold again, and had a new name, the Matrix Corporate Center.
After years of neglect, in 2018 the Matrix was sold to Summit Development for just $18 million dollars and once again the name was changed. This time, it was changed to The Summit, but the damage to the once pristine building had already taken its toll.
A few years ago, a video was made by our friend the Urban Archeologist showing how badly the building had been neglected and how they were trying to renovate things in hopes of attracting new tenants.