BURGETTSTOWN - Hormann Flexon, the German door maker, could be operating out of Washington County's Starpointe Business Park in Burgettstown by September 2013.
The company is paying just over $705,000 for a 10.85 acre parcel that straddles Phase I and Phase II of the Starpointe project. They'll build a 68,000-square-foot plant to start, "but (it's) being designed so the building can expand ... so that eventually, it can accommodate 220,000-square feet," said John Watson of Fourth River Development LLC in Pittsburgh, broker/developer for the industrial park.
The deal will close in late summer.
Watson said site preparations will take until July, "then we'll start the actual construction process. The building will be done slightly before September (2013), but the tenant needs time to get its equipment up and running."
Hormann Flexon, privately owned by the Hormann Group, makes high-performance doors for industrial, commercial and residential customers. While most of its production facilities are in Europe, the company has three states-based plants - Hormann LLC in Vonore, Tenn., which makes residential garage doors and openers; Hormann LLC, Montgomery, Ill., USA, which makes residential and commercial sectional doors; and Hormann Flexon LLC, Leetsdale, Pa., which makes high performance doors and loading dock equipment.
Daniel Reitz, executive director of the Washington County Council on Economic Development, said Hormann Flexon is "the largest manufacturer of doors, door openers and loading dock equipment outside the U.S., and is known worldwide as a leader in door technology."
Reitz said in a release announcing the signing that Hormann Flexon's move into larger space initially, "with capacity for significant expansion, demonstrates confidence in the strength of Southwestern Pennsylvania's economic position, the quality of its work force and its commitment to continued growth in the U.S."
The company currently employs more than 6,000 people worldwide and posted record sales of roughly $1.28 billion in 2011.
Once the plant is up and running, the Starpointe location will employ as many as 100 people initially, with the potential for more as the operation expands.
"Hormann Flexon has been selling its products in the U.S. for a while," he said. "They do plan on major increases in sales in the U.S. They're already the sales leader for high-speed garage doors in Germany and Europe."
Watson said the Hormann Flexon construction will take about a year to complete. The company's parcel starts "at the tail of Phase I, (where) no site work had been done" and extends into Phase II of the business park.
He said crews started moving tons of dirt in December for Phase II.
"We've been doing a lot of work to get the next phase, the pads, ready," Watson said. "We expect to be done with those at the end of fall. We (don't have anyone else under) contract, so we're preparing it to what we believe the market will like, what will be the most marketable."
The deal fits the manufacturing focus that's developed at Starpointe, he said. While they've talked to several shale-related businesses, so far only one has signed on the dotted line.
"There's been a flurry of activity and interest in our park because of oil and gas, but it's hard for us to accommodate their specific needs," Watson said. "They all want some sort of lay down area for outside storage, and our codes and covenants prohibit unsightly outside storage.
"We're trying to be something for everybody, but it's tough. Most of them want their trucks to sit next to the office or warehouse they're building, they don't want outside storage (out of sight)," Watson said.
Phase I, which encompassed 148 acres, featured 12 pad-ready parcels, six of which are occupied or have buildings on them. Phase II will cost roughly $11 million - $8 million for site preparation and another $3 million for utilities and infrastructure - and will add about 100 usable acres to the park.