Greenfield firm buys new site
BY TIM MEKEEL, Business Editor
With the commercial real estate market in the doldrums, Webber/Smith Associates thought it might find a good deal on an office building.
The company has acquired the vacant former Triple H Construction building off Koser Road in Manheim Township.
After renovations are complete, Webber/Smith plans to begin operating at the 20 Wright Ave. building on Feb. 25.
"It's a beautiful opportunity for us," said Steve Shaub, a refrigeration specialist and one of three owners of Webber/Smith.
The new location measures 11,100 square feet, nearly equal to the 12,000 square feet of its leased space at 1857 William Penn Way.
But the new location will be remodeled to lower interior walls between work stations to foster communication between employees.
"This allows us to change the way we operate, to a more open, interactive atmosphere, to better serve our clients," said Shaub.
Renovations also will make work stations more ergonomic and better able to handle state-of-the-art computer systems.
Webber/Smith, established in 1978, designs food processing and distribution facilities around the world. It has an affiliate, AE Design.
Joining Shaub in Webber/Smith's ownership are Gary Smith, chairman and co-founder, and Keith Shollenberger, president.
The 35-employee firm has been on William Penn Way in Greenfield Corporate Center since 2000.
But knowing that its Greenfield lease will run out in March, Webber/Smith began last year to look at its options.
"In today's struggling economy, we want to use our dollars wisely," said Shaub.
Webber/Smith acquired the former Triple H building in November for $1.35 million, according to courthouse records.
The price and terms were so favorable that Webber/Smith ended up with mortgage payments smaller than its lease payments, Shaub said.
The property comes with a 5,600-square-foot warehouse that Webber/Smith intends to lease out.
The space would be ideal for a small contractor, such as a landscaper, Shaub said.