Week of April 29, 2002
  Project Watch
Kansas City Lands Baader's HQ Relocation, Retains 110 Mfg. Jobs
Kansas City
Baader North America's choice means more than the 50 new headquarters jobs for Kansas City (pictured). Baader's decision also means that the city will retain the company's existing 110-employee operation, which manufactures machinery for poultry processing equipment.

KANSAS CITY – Nowhere near salt water, but very near the center of the United States.
        That location profile was a big part of the headquarters relocation rationale for Baader North America, known by many business observers for its seafood processing equipment. The subsidiary of German-based Baader Group has announced that it will relocate its operational base to Kansas City. The move will add some 50 new jobs in Kansas City, with salaries averaging US$50,000.
        Boston; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Seattle were the other finalists for the headquarters facility for Baader, a manufacturer of machinery for fish and poultry processing.
        The decision means that Baader will close its present headquarters in Fort Myers. Five or six executives will transfer from Fort Myers to Kansas City, Baader officials said. The remainder of the headquarters jobs will be filled by local hires.
        "This was a difficult business decision and in no way reflects on the fine work done by our dedicated Fort Myers employees," said Andy Miller, Baader North America president and chief operating officer.
        A Kansas City location, however, offered greater operational efficiencies, Miller explained.
        "From Kansas City, we are close to the poultry, red-meat and dairy industries, and can effectively serve the Pacific- and Atlantic-based seafood industry, as well as the growing catfish industry," Miller said.
        Baader has operations on both the East and West U.S. coasts, plus catfish operations in Indianola, Miss. Kansas City offers direct flights to all those locations, Miller said.

Decision Keeps 110
Manufacturing Jobs in KC
Baader's site-selection decision actually involved more than the 50 headquarters jobs. The company's broader strategy also involved Baader's manufacturing operations for poultry processing equipment. In another part of Baader's drive to improve operational efficiencies, the company had decided that it would co-locate its poultry processing manufacturing with its operational base in whichever city was picked for the headquarters.
        By getting the headquarters nod, Kansas City retains Baader's 110 existing poultry processing jobs.
        Those 110 jobs trace back to Baader's 1997 purchase of Kansas City-based Johnson Food Equipment, a manufacturer of poultry processing equipment. After the buy, Baader changed the firm's name to Baader-Johnson and then transferred all of its poultry processing operations from Fort Myers to Kansas City.
        With its headquarters decision made, Baader North America now plans to expand its Kansas City poultry processing operation, Miller said. Plans are already on the drawing board, he added, for a $3.5 million upgrade at the Baader-Johnson plant.

Australian Aerospace Picks Brisbane for National Headquarters
Brisbane Airport
Brisbane Airport (pictured), Australian Aerospace's chosen location for its national headquarters, has also landed a number of other major aerospace players, including Boeing, DHL Worldwide Express, Pratt and Whitney, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Airlines and Qantas.

BRISBANE, Queensland, AustraliaAustralian Aerospace, a subsidiary of aviation giant European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS), has announced that it will establish its Australian headquarters at Brisbane Airport.
        The headquarters project had been in the works since last summer, when Eurocopter, a wholly owned EADS subsidiary, won the Australian government's Air 87 contract. The $691 million contract calls for Eurocopter to deliver 22 armed reconnaissance helicopters to the Australian army.
        Australian Aerospace officials have not yet released capital investment or employment figures for the Australian headquarters.
        Queensland leaders hailed the announcement as another step forward in making the province a regional aviation center.
        "It reinforces the Queensland government's vision of establishing Southeast Queensland and Australia TradeCoast's Brisbane Airport as the aviation hub of the Asia-Pacific," said Tom Barton, Queensland's minister for state development. (Australia TradeCoast is an economic development initiative promoting Brisbane's port areas, which include Brisbane Airport.)

EADS Entered Australian Market Last Year
Australian Aerospace officials also cited the area's aerospace cluster. "We at Eurocopter are particularly proud to start a long-term partnership with the state of Queensland, which is clearly becoming a key actor for aeronautics in the Asia-Pacific region," said Eurocopter President Jean-Francois Bigay.
        EADS, a cooperative venture between Germany's DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, France's Aerospatiale Matra and Spain's Construcciones Aeronauticas SA, last year became a significant player in Australian aviation. The Paris-based giant acquired the defense activities of Hawker Pacific of Australia, including 100 percent of Australian Aerospace.
Landing the Australian Aerospace headquarters "reinforces the Queensland government's vision of establishing Southeast Queensland and Australia TradeCoast's Brisbane Airport as the aviation hub of the Asia-Pacific," said Tom Barton, Queensland's minister for state development (pictured).

        Landing Australian Aerospace's headquarters continues Brisbane's recent run in attracting major aerospace operations. The city made its biggest splash last year, when Virgin Airlines picked Brisbane for its 750-employeee Australian headquarters. (See March 6, 2000, Blockbuster Deal of the Week, "Virgin Goes Down Under: Queensland Lands 750-Employee HQ.")
        Brisbane has also landed other major aerospace projects that include DHL Worldwide Express's Oceania Shared Service Center and Boeing's Australian headquarters. In addition, a number of other major industry players have either already located in the area or have announced plans to do so. That group includes Earthworks, National Jet Systems, Jetcare, Pratt and Whitney, Singapore Airlines, Smiths Aerospace and Qantas.
        The Brisbane Airport this year boosted its appeal for aerospace firms by opening an Aviation Australia training center. The center was created with $5.3 million in seed money from the Queensland government and the support of industry players including BAC, Boeing, Qantas and Virgin.
        The training complex includes an administration building, a hangar training facility, workshops for engines and parts, a specialist library, and a range of research facilities, classrooms and laboratories. The center will serve 200 students this year. By 2005, it will be capable of handling 1,000 students.

Ritz Camera Picks Atlanta for 192,750-Sq.-Ft. Distribution Center

SUWANEE, Ga.Ritz Camera Centers, the largest U.S. photographic chain, has picked a metro Atlanta site for its 192,750-sq.-ft. (17,348-sq.-m.) distribution center. The operation will be located in Shawnee Ridge, a 587-acre (235-hectare) business park in Suwanee, Ga., part of the northeast Atlanta metro area.
        The Beltsville, Md.-based company picked Atlanta over competing sites in Maryland and Charleston, S.C., company officials said. Suwanee clicked with Ritz Camera because of the company's existing employee base in the area, said President and COO Wade Mayberry. Ritz Camera acquired its Atlanta-area employees as part of its $84.7 million buy last year of Alpharetta, Ga.-based Wolf Camera.
        At the time of the acquisition, though, the future of Wolf's Atlanta-area distribution operation seemed tenuous. Following the purchase, Ritz Chief Executive David Ritz said that Wolf's distribution center in Alpharetta would remain open "for a period of time."
        With Atlanta the choice for the major distribution center, Ritz Camera's 80 current employees in Alpharetta will relocate to the new, larger center in Suwanee. The company will hire additional workers to staff its center, Ritz Camera officials indicated, but they didn't offer an estimate on total employment.

Former Webvan Center Had
Been Vacant for 10 Months
The camera retailer's site-selection decision takes much of a huge and long-languishing property off the market. Ritz Camera's new space is part of a 350,000-sq.-ft. (31,500-sq.-m.) facility that was once a Webvan distribution center. The building had stood empty since the online grocer went belly-up in July of last year, laying off 485 Atlanta-area employees.
        Ritz Camera, which has some 1,350 stores in 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, signed a 10-year lease on the Shawnee Ridge space. The company is leasing the space from AMB Property Corp., the San Francisco-based real estate investment trust that owns the building.
        AMB has also successfully leased the remaining 157,250 sq. ft. (14,153 sq. m.) of the onetime Webvan center. Orlando-based Bari Italian Foods has signed a 12-year lease on the space, which will house the company's relocated Atlanta-area distribution operation.


©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.