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Published: Sunday, 10/8/2006

Remodelings, conversions boost industrial-space use

JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Gary Marck, left and Leo Deiger are subdividing the former AP Parts building. Gary Marck, left and Leo Deiger are subdividing the former AP Parts building.
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THE ROWS upon rows of auto-parts racks lined up outside the former Doehler Jarvis Inc. foundry and casting plant aren t waiting to be ? lled by workers inside.

Even the empty racks aren t expected to be there long.

Neither are the few other tenants temporarily using bits of the 700,000-square-foot North Detroit Avenue plant vacated eight years ago by the onetime Toledo giant.

Much of the vacated industrial space in the Toledo-area market is being reused or revamped, lo-cal real estate experts say.

Even the planned closures of ConAgra Foods Inc. s Per-rysburg Township factory next year and Ford Motor Co. s Mau-mee Stamping Plant in 2008, although unfortunate, will not add much industrial space to the availability list, they say.

About 7.5 percent of the Toledo area s 80 million square feet of industrial space is vacant, down from 10.5 percent last year, and the Ford and ConAgra plants would represent less than 2 per-centage points more when they are idled, said Ron Jurgenson, partner and industrial special-ist with Michael Realty Co. in Toledo.

We re still far lower than we have been in the last four years, Mr. Jurgenson said.

Hopefully, this will continue to be the trend, and we won t have a bunch of buildings sitting out there in the marketplace.

Suppliers to DaimlerChrysler AG s Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant and General Motors Corp. s Toledo Powertrain plant recently have taken up assembly and storage space in buildings va-cated by other companies.

Toledo s Dana Corp., for ex-ample, is one of roughly a half-dozen tenants in the former AP Parts Co. plant on Matzinger Road, and Toledo Molding & Die Inc. set up shop in part of the formerDeVilbiss Co. plant.

Both buildings are owned by partners Gary Marck and Leo Deiger of leasing ? rm I.B.C. Inc.

With more than 1.1 million square feet, the former AP Parts plant was too big for a single ten-ant in the type of manufacturing done in Toledo these days, so it is being subdivided, Mr. Marck said.

The 486,000-square-foot De-Vilbiss building also was subdi-vided and is full, he said.

Those are two good examples of well-maintained buildings, Mr. Marck said. It s easy to re-model a building if you start with something that s worthwhile.

Both the Ford and ConAgra plants likely will be used either by a large tenant or two orwill be subdivided into a multi-tenant site, said industrial expert John Green of Maumee brokerage CB Richard Ellis, Reichle Klein.

While those buildings may not be ideal for today s users, they manage to use the space as it is cost effective, he said.

The former Alcoa Inc. factory in Northwood was purchased re-cently by ThyssenKrupp Logis-tics, and truck docks are being added to the 117,600-square-foot building to help convert it into a distribution facility. Other such companies likely will surface in the next 10 years, Michael Realty s Mr. Jurgenson said.

In time, as we lose manu-facturing jobs, which I think is inevitable, you re replacing them with distribution jobs, he said. The products have to come from somewhere, and we have to warehouse them.

Much of the more than 3 mil-lion square feet I.B.C. owns is leased for warehousing.

It also holds buildings originally used as warehouses, such as the former Lion Store struc-ture on Angola Road that will be ?lled once Dillard s Inc. s lease runs out in February, Mr. Marck said.

Some vacated buildings, how-ever, are not reusable.

After opening with suppli-ers a $900 million plant for the Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler is in the process of cleaning up and de-molishing what is left of its Jeep Parkway factory, which had been the nation s longest-running auto plant.

Chrysler hopes to have the area cleared to ground level by next summer, and no plans have been announced for the site, said spokesman Max Gates.

Ideally, Chrysler either will partner with local agencies to market the prime industrial location, or the automaker will sell it to of? cials so they can guide its use, said Jim Mettler, vice president of new project de-velopment for the Toledo-Lucas

County Port Authority.

The site, which has good rail and road access, could be kept whole in hopes of attracting another large manufacturer, or parceled off, he said.

That really has a lot of poten-tial, Mr. Mettler said.Other buildings, such as the Doehler-Jarvis plant, are in need of extensive cleanup before they could be fully reused, some real estate experts said.

Plus, the sprawling plant would be dif? cult to subdivide and provide tenants with needed dock space, Mr. Marck said.

Both state and federal agencies offer various brown? eld grants to help redevelop indus-trial sites, as is being done with the Marina District near downtown Toledo, but agencies typically can t apply for funds unless a company is tied to the project, Mr. Mettler said.

Most developers and busi-nesses don t want to wait six months to get approval for the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund, for example, so they build on undeveloped land, he said.



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