Last portion of former GM assembly plant readied for sale

Fuyao remains anchor tenant at complex

Moraine plant timeline

1919: General Motors buys the Dayton Wright Airplane Co. for its Frigidaire division.

1950: Construction starts on modern Moraine Frigidaire/GM plant.

1981-89: Plant produces Chevrolet S-10.

1990: SUV production begins.

January 2007: Plant hails six millionth vehicle produced.

June 2008: GM announces plans to close four North American plants, including its site in Moraine.

Dec. 23, 2008: Plant ceases production.

July 2009: Stuart Lichter, founder of Southern California developer Industrial Realty Group, publicly confirms interest in the Moraine plant for the first time.

April 2011: IRG takes ownership of Moraine plant.

Summer 2012: Over a period of months, five small- to medium-sized companies make a home at plant.

Nov. 1, 2013: Public officials reveal that a manufacturer wants to invest $250 million at plant, creating up to 800 jobs.

Jan. 10, 2014: Dayton Daily News is first to identify Fuyao as the company planning to bring what it said then was 800 jobs to the former GM plant.

May 2014: Fuyao Chairman Cho Tak Wong buys 1.4 million square feet of plant for $15 million.

July 2016: Fuyao Glass America annouces it will lease another 241,000 square feet of plant. Company now controls 1.5 million square feet there. Plans to have 2,000 workers by year’s end.

Sources: GM, IRG, Montgomery County

California property investor Industrial Realty Group is preparing the last portion of the former General Motors-Moraine plant for sale or lease.

Stuart Lichter, IRG principal, told the Dayton Daily News that IRG is readying the plant’s former paint shop south of West Stroop Road for lease or sale, probably to a warehouse or manufacturing customer.

“Everything on the one (north) side of Stroop Road is 100 percent leased,” Lichter said. “The only available space we have is on the other side of Stroop … which was the original paint plant.”

IRG never focused on that part of the plant. Until now, Lichter said.

“Now we’re going to start getting that building prepared to lease,” he said. “There’s still a lot of equipment in it. And we’ll be starting an effort to clear the building out and doing work in the building and modifying the building. It will be another good building to lease.”

Mike Davis, development director for the city of Moraine, said there has been some interest already in the three-floor former paint shop, and some parties have walked through the facility.

The building also has its own parking, Davis said.

“People are starting to take a hard look at it,” he said.

The paint shop was essentially a large automated facility for painting SUVs, said Dean Miller, IRG executive in Ohio. IRG envisions it will be a large mainly single-floor high-clearance facility after it’s readied for use, he said.

The paint shop has about 375,000 square feet of ground-floor space. “The building was basically one large piece of equipment,” Miller said.

IRG and Moraine have taken the overall complex from empty to mostly used in just five years. IRG took control of the plant in April 2011.

The biggest user in the complex, of course, is Fuyao Glass America, approaching 2,000 employees this year, double the number of workers GM employed when the company stopped assembling SUVs there in late 2008.

In late July, Fuyao announced it is leasing an additional 241,000 square feet of the plant in a 15-year agreement with IRG. That’s a “significant portion” of the plant, Lichter said.

That was the first section of the plant the company has leased, Moraine city officials said last month.

In May 2014, Fuyao global Chairman Cho Tak Wong paid $15 million for 1.4 million square feet of the plant.

The company now claims 1.5 million square feet of the plant and has invested more than $400 million into the plant and $700 million total in United States operations, including a glass supply plant in Mount Zion, Ill.

'Timing and preparation'

IRG’s Miller said bringing paying clients to the property has been “a very fortuitous combination of timing and preparation.”

Moraine officials had the foresight to maintain the standing buildings on the former GM property, Miller said. City leaders first invited IRG to take a look at the site in 2009.

“Having open communication with IRG has been very beneficial from the standpoint that we were able to bounce ideas off each other,” Davis said.

Davis said success also depended on the site’s competitive pricing, relatively good condition and ability to be divided and parceled out.

Engineering firm Woolpert and developer Miller-Valentine were also instrumental, helping to show “that old plant could be put to productive use,” Davis said.

“There’s plenty of credit to go around,” Miller said.

After it took control of the site, IRG demolished part of the building, about 500,000 square feet, leaving about 515,000 square feet north of Stroop. With the recent lease by Fuyao, the area (north of Stroop) is now fully occupied, Miller said

Tenants besides Fuyao include Yaskawa Motoman, trucking company Star Cartage Co Inc., Fuyao contractor PCS and U.S. Aeroteam, a formerly Beavercreek-based defense contractor.

The property in total covers about 380 acres. Of that, Fuyao controls about 110. The total sold acreage on the property so far is 167 acres, Miller said.

Davis recalled that in 2008, Moraine was seen as “kind of the microcosm of what was happening in the country” in terms of the recession’s severe impact.

“We’re now the success story to look at in terms of how to handle it,” he said.

Click on the photo for an interactive experience about the rise, fall and rise again of the Moraine plant

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