Week of May 20, 2002
  Project Watch
Claude 'Chip' Hornsby
"Because we now have nearly 700 locations spanning six time zones, we considered relocating to a more central time zone or to an adjacent state," said Ferguson Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer Claude "Chip" Hornsby (pictured).
Fast-Growing Ferguson Enterprises Plows Ahead with 400-Employee Virginia Expansion

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.Ferguson Enterprises, the largest plumbing supply distributor in the United States, has broken ground on a US$20.5 million, 400-employee expansion in Newport News, Va.
        Ferguson, part of the Wolseley plc group of U.S. companies, is headquartered in Newport News, the city in which the company was founded in 1953.
        Ferguson's jackrabbit growth triggered the expansion. Last year, for example, the company increased its total employment by 50 percent to 12,000 workers. 2001 sales grew by 32 percent to $3.3 billion.
        "Six years ago, when we broke ground for our corporate headquarters at Bland and Jefferson streets, we believed that we would have enough room to grow for at least 10 years," Ferguson Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer Claude "Chip" Hornsby said in explaining the expansion. "However, we outgrew our current facility in four years."

HQ Relocation Considered
Before Expansion Decision
But the headquarters city that gave birth to Ferguson wasn't anything like a lock for the project. The company's expansion needs, in fact, prompted Ferguson to take a long look at the optimal location for its entire headquarters operation, Hornsby explained.
        "Because we now have nearly 700 locations spanning six time zones, we considered relocating to a more central time zone or to an adjacent state," he said. "It was a tough decision, but with the cooperation of the commonwealth of Virginia, the city of Newport News and the [Newport News] Industrial Development Authority, we decided to expand at our current location."
        With that much hanging in the balance, the incentives for the Ferguson expansion are comparatively modest. Gov. Jim Gilmore approved a $750,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Newport News with site preparation, and the Virginia Dept. of Business Assistance is providing work-force training services. In addition, Ferguson is eligible for an as-yet-undetermined amount of other tax credits because of the expansion's location within an enterprise zone. The company already owned the 13-acre (5.2-hectare) site on which the new five-story office building is being built.
        Ferguson will initially occupy roughly half of the 150,000 sq. ft. building, which is located adjacent to its existing headquarters near the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, company officials said. The rest of the space will be retained over the long term for future growth. Over the short term, though, Ferguson plans to lease the new facility's vacant space to other firms.

Uline carton sizer
A shipping product with staying power: The "carton sizer," the first product that Dick and Liz Uihlein created in their basement in 1980, remains part of Uline's product catalogue.
North Dallas Lands Uline's 159,000-Sq.-Ft. Regional Distribution Center

COPPELL, Texas — Ending a tug of war between a host of dueling Dallas-area developers, Chicago-based shipping supply company Uline has picked Coppell, Texas, as the site of its 159,000-sq.-ft. (14,310-sq.-m.) regional distribution center.
        Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. will begin this month developing the build-to-suit facility. Uline's facility will be built on an 11.9-acre (4.76-hectare) site in Duke Realty's Freeport North industrial park, which is located part in the north Dallas metro.
        Sluggishness in the speculative construction market spurred half a dozen developers to ardently woo the regional distribution center, which represents Uline's maiden voyage into the U.S. Southwest market. Uline considered four cities in the Dallas metroplex, company officials said. CB Richard Ellis represented Uline in its site search.
        "Uline had several locations to choose from in the area, but there were two main reasons Uline chose to go with Duke," asserted Bob Rice, the Duke Realty leasing representative who worked the deal. "Duke was very responsive in accommodating Uline's unique design criteria. And, once the design and economic issues were settled, Uline was attracted by the master-planned business park that Duke offers at Freeport North."

Company Fits Fast-Growth Model
The company's build-to-suit in Freeport North will include 30-foot (9.1-meter) high ceilings, 20 dock doors and a drive-in door, according to Duke Realty officials. Ten percent of the 159,000-sq.-ft. center will be dedicated to office use, they added.
        Uline is leaving itself room to grow inside Freeport North, where its center will sit roughly one mile (1.6 kilometers) I-635 and one mile from State Highway 121. After the center is completed, 3.2 acres (1.28 hectares) of the company's site will stand vacant. That space can potentially accommodate an additional 75,000 sq. ft. (6,750 sq. m.) of business operations.
        The surplus acreage may not stay vacant long, history suggests. Founded in 1980, Uline has averaged 35 percent a year in business growth - at least until 2001. But even in 2001, a resolutely challenging year for many firms, Uline grew its business by 15 percent.
        "Uline fits the perfect model of the kind of fast-growing tenant that Duke hopes to attract to its business park," said Jeff Turner, senior vice president of Duke Realty's Dallas Group.

Project Is Long Way from
Company's Basement Beginnings
The spacious center in Coppell is a very long way from Uline's modest and cramped beginnings. Dick and Liz Uihlein, a husband and wife team, started the company in their basement in 1980. The Uihleins core idea was to directly sell their products to shipping department managers - an overlooked market, they thought. Uline's operations have continued to place heavy emphasis on maintaining a stock of every product that the company offers.
        Uline's large existing customer base in the Dallas area made it a natural fit for expansion, company officials explained.
        The Coppell center will be shipping orders before year's end, initially employing 75 workers, Uline officials said. The Freeport North facility will join Uline's existing distribution centers in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Newark, N.J.
        The Uline project is part of the some 6.2 million sq. ft. (558,000 sq. m.) of office and industrial properties in the greater Dallas area that Duke Realty Corporation owns, manages or has under development.

Wyeth BioPharma's St. Louis campus
Refacto production at Wyeth BioPharma's St. Louis campus (pictured) employs chipmunk cells that have been genetically engineered to produce the blood-clotting factor.
Wyeth BioPharma Enters Phase II
of $230 Million Expansion

ST. LOUISWyeth BioPharma has begun the second phase of a $230 million expansion of its St. Louis campus. The company's phase II expansion will further enlarge Wyeth BioPharma's St. Louis operation, where currently houses 300 employees in 115,000 sq. ft. (10,350 sq. m.) in four permanent buildings and two temporary facilities. The added space will increase the St. Louis campus's capacity to manufacture Refacto, a recombinant pharmaceutical for the treatment of hemophilia A.
        The phase II expansion will add space for warehousing, equipment support and maintenance, and backup systems for utilities. The project will also add more space for the production of two elements used in making Refacto - media (the substance in which the cells that help generate the recombinant pharmaceutical grow) and buffer solutions. In addition, the building housing Wyeth BioPharma's quality control and development labs will be renovated, as will the facility housing the company's information systems.
        The added space will help accommodate Wyeth BioPharma's rapid growth in St. Louis. For the last year, Wyeth BioPharma officials explained, the company's Missouri operation has each month been adding some 10 jobs - most of them high-end positions for chemists, engineers, microbiologists, scientists and technicians. During 2002, the company anticipates adding some 150 employees in St. Louis, a 50 percent increase in headcount.

Genetic Engineering Drives
Biotech Pharmaceutical Production
A subsidiary of Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth, Wyeth BioPharma uses genetic engineering to create biotech pharmaceuticals.
        For Refacto production in particular, the company uses chipmunk cells that have been genetically engineered to produce the blood-clotting factor. The St. Louis operation grows and harvests the cells and purifies their blood-clotting properties. Wyeth BioPharma uses its operations in other cities to perform final processing of Refacto.
        Wyeth BioPharma's current expansion follows a first phase in which the company bought two buildings that it had been leasing, remodeled and retrofitted some of its owned facilities and installed production-process improvements.
        Wyeth BioPharma's complex operation is a major element in the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Assn.'s "Bio Belt" initiative - an effort to establish the area as a biotechnology and life-science center.

Wyeth Has Reengineered Its Corporate Genes
Wyeth BioPharma's parent firm has undergone its own sort of reengineering of its corporate genes. Wyeth was once known as American Home Products, the manufacturer of Advil and Anacin. In March, the company adopted the Wyeth name. The new moniker stems from John Wyeth & Brother. A prescription medicine concern founded in Philadelphia in 1860, John Wyeth & Brother is the oldest prescription business that American Home Products/Wyeth owns.
        The name shift is part of what the company is calling its transition to a "research-based global pharmaceutical company."
        The change seems more than cosmetic. In addition to its St. Louis expansion, Wyeth is currently building a $1 billion, 1.2-million-sq.-ft. (108,000-sq.-m.) manufacturing and development complex in Dublin. The massive Irish operation, which will employ 900 workers, is scheduled to begin production in 2005.


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