Week of May 20, 2002
LOOKING FOR A PREVIOUS STORY? CHECK THE ARCHIVE.
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.
HQ Relocation ConsideredBut 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.
Before Expansion Decision
"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.
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.
Company Fits Fast-Growth ModelThe 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 fromThe 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.
Company's Basement Beginnings
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.
of $230 Million Expansion
ST. LOUIS Wyeth 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.
Genetic Engineering DrivesA subsidiary of Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth, Wyeth BioPharma uses genetic engineering to create biotech pharmaceuticals.
Biotech Pharmaceutical Production
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 GenesWyeth 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.
PLEASE VISIT OUR SPONSOR CLICK ABOVE
©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.