If You Build It, They Will Come
develops upscale facilities at
Montgomery Industrial Park
by David Zaslawsky
There are some simple reasons why Industrial Partners, LLC, has been so successful developing Montgomery Industrial Park.
Industrial Partners General Manager Nim Frazer said two of the key reasons for his company’s solid reputation are constructing the high-quality buildings at the 350-acre park on time and on budget.
“We have a steady focus on industrial real estate – that’s all we do,” Frazer said. “We have well-located land at good prices and we’ve got a network of suppliers and sub-contractors.”
After a six-month courtship of Berney Office Solutions to move to Montgomery Industrial Park in East Montgomery, Frazer said there was a handshake and a lease signed. Now, it’s up to Industrial Partners to build-to-suit and have the nearly 40,000-square-foot facility ready in February.
“You go out there today and it’s just raw land,” Frazer said. “You will see a lot of work start immediately on that site.”
As far as the big picture goes, Berney Office Solutions will move into the proposed building No. 2. You won’t find one size fits all at the upscale Montgomery Industrial Park, which is actually owned by the Montgomery County Commission.
There are seven other proposed buildings of all different shapes and sizes, which were designed to meet a variety of companies’ needs. It’s all about flexibility.
Two of the proposed buildings – No. 8 and No. 10 – are long and narrow, which is conducive to multi tenants, according to Frazer. Both of those proposed facilities exceed 100,000 square feet.
Proposed buildings No.3 and No. 4 are both less than 35,000 square feet and would be a better fit for a single tenant, Frazer said.
Then the industrial park has two proposed buildings – No.5 (78,000 square feet) and No. 6 (90,000-plus square feet), which could be for one tenant or several. Proposed building No. 9 is more than 80,000 square feet.
One of the key features of the industrial park is that each of the facilities has room for expansion.
So a proposed 33,000-square-foot building may have a similar amount of square feet for expansion, meeting the requirements of one or two tenants.
“We tried to design with maximum flexibility,” Frazer said. “You don’t know what the future is and you don’t know what the companies’ requirements are.”
With the groundbreaking of Berney Office Solutions on a 6.5-acre site, Industrial Partners still has about 50 of its acres to develop. The industrial park has about 250 developable acres, according to Frazer.
If Industrial Partners fully develops its remaining space, Frazer said his company may be able to finalize a deal with the county for additional land. But that scenario could be “10 to 15 years” from now.
Yet, in just a short few years, the Montgomery Industrial Park has gone from one tenant to nine by early next year.
Three of the tenants – Keebler, Alabama Crown Distributing Co. and Midlothian Laboratories – are multi tenants in a 140,000-square-foot facility.
Frazer said that he still has 20,000 square feet available at that facility for one or two tenants. Once that space is occupied, Industrial Partners will begin constructing a spec building within six months.
One of the early tenants at MontgomeryIndustrial Park in 2005 was ProEthic Pharmaceuticals, which was later bought and is now Kowa Pharmaceuticals. The company moved into a 44,117-square-foot built-to-suit building, Frazer recalled, citing the exact square footage. He said the company moved to a 10-acre site because the firm was growing so quickly.
Turenne PharMedCo is another health care company at the park as is newcomer Medical Place, which made its own deal without Industrial Partners.
That is another option for companies moving to MontgomeryIndustrial Park. They can buy the land or lease it and they can use their own architects and contractors or have Industrial Partners develop the site for them.
The county bought the land for $7.5 million on Oct. 13, 2000 and then an additional $4.4 million was spent on infrastructure improvements with about $2 million of that total coming from grants. That leaves the county with an out-of-pocket investment of about $9.8 million.
The county is “on a good trend line” to see a return on its investment, according to Montgomery County Administrator Donnie Mims. He said the county has already sold some land for $2.1 million and the available land has an estimated value of $8 million after all the infrastructure improvements as well as new buildings at the industrial park.
Another aspect of the county’s return on investment is the companies that have moved or are moving to the MontgomeryIndustrial Park did so because they could no longer expand or add employees. The expansions and growth of those firms will result in more revenue for the county, Mims said.
Frazer estimates that the public and private sector combined have invested $15 million to $17 million in the park.
Another new tenant is Old Dominion Freight Line, which recently opened its 12,000-square-foot, 37-door facility on a nine-acre site.
Four of Old Dominion’s new neighbors are customers and the others are potential customers, Frazer said. “If your business is out there, it’s like having FedEx down the street,” he said.
That synergy also exists with Berney Office Solutions, an office supply company.
There are four health care companies at the industrial park, although some of that may be coincidence, but one health care firm may also attract others, Frazer said.
“The community takes notice of things like this,” Frazer said. “The media write stories about it and people read about it. It may pique a company’s curiosity. They may drive through the industrial park and see what’s out there and determine that maybe they might relocate their business in the future.”