Lacking Ready-To-Go Commercial Real Estate, Public Money Goes To Develop Land
Hormann Flexon makes high-speed roll-up doors for commercial buildings. The company, located west of Pittsburgh, has doubled in size over the past three years and recently moved into a new building. Company President, Mark Haley, attributed the growth to shrinking lead times; Hormann Flexon delivers a custom door in two to three weeks, significantly faster than their competitors, he said.
The whole factory is being continually tuned to increase efficiency.
“Everything we do we’re trying to save 30 seconds on every operation. If we can save 30 seconds times that by the number of times we need to do it in a day times that by a year, it means we get much more efficient,” Haley said.
So when the company started looking for new real estate, Haley knew timing would be crucial. They wanted a pad-ready site — one where contamination is cleaned up, utilities and roads in place, and soil compacted and leveled — so there would be no surprises when they started building, and no unexpected downtime. “It takes a lot of the risk out of the whole process, and risk being time and money,” he said.
Turns out, that’s hard to find in the Pittsburgh region, and throughout the state.
Cities like Pittsburgh see that as an impediment to growth, so economic development groups and local and state governments are offering up money to prep commercial real estate.