PITTSFIELD — Cianbro Corp. has signed an agreement with the Pittsfield Economic Expansion Corp. to lease the former United Technologies Corp. tech center building that has been vacant since the company shut down operations at its Pittsfield plant earlier this year with a loss of about 300 jobs.

Cianbro President Andi Vigue said in a release Monday that the Pittsfield-based construction company plans to renovate the tech center’s interior to accommodate the company’s training needs. Upgrades will include classrooms, office space for instructors and a spacious general area for larger educational gatherings. A gym and workout area that is part of the building’s downstairs will remain and be used by Cianbro as an exercise and healthy lifestyle facility.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cianbro will lease the property immediately with the intent to purchase it in 2016. The main factory is a separate building still owned by UTC and is back on the market.

UTC manufactured fire safety and security products in Pittsfield and used the tech center building on Hunnewell Avenue as a lab and office space.

Pittsfield Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said she is pleased that the agreement was made to lease and sell the building to a business that deeply cares about the state, the town and the region.

“We’re very excited, both the town of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Economic Expansion Corp.,” Ruth said. “We had showed the building once UTC moved out in May, but most of them just wanted to lease or they wanted us to finance the building for them with grants, in which we’d be providing the incentives. Cianbro has just indicated that they will purchase it.”

Pete Vigue, Cianbro chairman and CEO, said the company is happy to continue to make investments in Maine and that the acquisition of the tech center is an example of the company’s commitment to the state.

“We believe very strongly that our business is all about people,” Vigue said. “As a result, we continue to expand our efforts in the area of education and training — skills training in particular.”

He said the UTC building will require a significant amount of modification and improvements to satisfy Cianbro’s needs.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Vigue said. “We’re happy about continuing to make investments here in Maine … and we believe that this type of investment in our team is good for our company, it’s good for our people and it’s good for our state.”

The 18,403-square-foot building is located beside Pittsfield’s busy downtown, and it is anticipated that the Cianbro training facility and the downtown will co-exist and support each other with services and opportunities, Ruth said.

The tech center is owned by PEEC — the town’s nonprofit economic and development organization. PEEC acquired the former Bud’s Shop ‘n’ Save, which moved to Somerset Plaza, in 1994. The group received grants to transform the former supermarket into a technology center to test equipment used by the Edwards Co.

Ruth said the building was leased to UTC and all of its predecessors all the way back to the Edwards Co.

The tech center is separate from the closed UTC factory, which is being shown for sale to several businesses.

Ruth said the tech center has not been on the town’s tax rolls for several years, having been exempt as a testing company for scientific and educational purposes, but will be added to the tax base once Cianbro closes on the sale early next year.

She said the town will then be able to assess the building and the improvements for tax purposes.

“It’s also very good for Cianbro,” Ruth said. “It’s the ideal location, right across the road from their corporate headquarters and very easy access to downtown, and over time we’re sure it will create jobs.”

Cianbro announced in June that it was in the midst of a major hiring effort for a wide range of skilled construction workers, noting that it had recruited more than 300 people in recent weeks and planed to hire about 300 more.

The company’s backlog includes the multi-year project to replace the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Kittery, installation of tissue machines at a Woodland paper mill, bridge work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the Gut Bridge replacement in Bristol, the expansion of the International Marine Terminal in Portland, bridge repairs in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and construction activities at various substations in New Hampshire.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow