Post University opened 128 years ago as a one-building schoolroom in downtown Waterbury.
Seven weeks ago, Post moved 400 employees from the online student services division into 53,000 square-feet of space in the refurbished Howland-Hughes building on Bank Street.
“We got great historic buildings in downtown Waterbury,” said Carl Rosa, the CEO of Main Street Waterbury that focuses on downtown revitalization and historic preservation.
Rosa said the arrival of a new workforce has provided a boost to local business.
“It resulted in almost an immediate impact of economic development,” Rosa said. “Downtown the businesses saw an immediate spike in their business. The restaurants, the lunch places saw an uptick in their businesses and it’s been great.”
Danielle Mazza started working in admissions for Post two weeks ago.
“I’ve never worked in a city-type life so I’m really enjoying this. Can go out take a stroll and see downtown Waterbury,” she said.
Post has taken over space on three floors and the main lobby features a massive monitor with scrolling promos for the university.
“The renovations that they did were beautiful,” Post employee Brittany Difalco said. “They were able to keep the original architecture of the building as well as incorporate our business office as well, so I think it’s a beautiful little spot for us.”
At the nearby Seven Villages Restaurant, owner John Velezis said he gets daily orders from Post employees.
“We’ve seen a little more action -- a lot more action actually and a lot delivering,” he said. “I just gave a few people a few extra hours and we just work a little harder, that’s all.”
Post University’s enrollment has grown more than 60-percent in the last three years and the campus residence halls are nearing capacity, Post Director of Communications Joan Huwiler said in an email to NBC Connecticut.
“With this growth, it is natural to think of expansion,” Huwiler said. “Taking on additional space – might be a foregone conclusion – but it is still very early in the process. We need to have additional conversations with various folks.”
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary was unavailable for comment Friday, but he spoke in favor of Post moving more workers into the Bank Street building during his monthly radio broadcast on Thursday.
“We’d love to see more of our historic vacant buildings converted to mix-use development and this is a classic case of that right now,” Rosa said.