Building Owners Demolish Parts Of Old Goodyear Building To Improve Leasing Options
By CASEY MURPHY
Owners of the former Goodyear plant in Tyler are in the middle of demolishing about half of the facility to make it more attractive for companies looking to lease it.
Stuart Lichter, president of California-based investment firm Industrial Realty Group, or IRG, bought the 1.12 million-square-foot facility and plans to reinvent the space to attract new businesses, he said in February.
On Thursday, Bruce Haas, of IRG, said they are tearing down roughly half of the building -- 500,000 to 600,000 square feet -- to turn it into more modern facilities to attract manufacturing companies.
He said some sections of the building are multi-level and don't "work in today's world." They are in the middle of tearing down two sections they felt are unleasable and will redevelop the space, he added.
Haas said they are bringing the entire facility down to two separate units, which will be more than 200,000 square feet each.
"Those are really rough numbers," he said. "Roughly, we're tearing down half of the building."
The remaining 500,000 or 600,000 square feet can be divided further for future tenants, Haas said. IRG is negotiating a contract with a major user that could occupy about 350,000 square feet, he said, adding that they were not ready to release any names.
Haas said they have already spent a significant amount of money bringing in new infrastructure and fire protection to the facility.
"Our plan basically is to release it," Lichter said in February of the building, which sits on 155 acres on Texas Highway 31 West. "Take down pieces of it to make it more suitable for smaller users and leave pieces of it up so that it's a series of buildings that are more right-sized for the market."
He said breaking it down will attract companies looking for smaller spaces, and a company coming in to fill the entire facility is probably not going to happen in Tyler.
Mark Whatley, of Burns Commercial Properties, was the broker for the deal and said IRG looked at the property before Goodyear closed.
Goodyear began closing the manufacturing plant in 2008, and when the building went on the market in April 2009, the company was still in the process of shutting down small operations being done there.
Whatley said IRG offers a lot more flexibility for something to be done with the building than Goodyear did. IRG will carve it up into smaller pieces to rent or sell the spaces to businesses.
"The building has great power; it has wonderful infrastructure; there's a lot of land," Lichter said. "It's a great manufacturing building, and parts of it are a great warehouse building. So there isn't much that could not fit into it."
He said IRG will do additional work for any specific company that wants to move into the building to make it work for their needs.
The tire manufacturing building was built in the early 1960s and was Kelly Springfield before becoming Goodyear, Whatley said. The building was continually added onto and more land acquired into the 1980s, making the property the massive size it is today.
At the height of its operations, Goodyear had about 1,500 employees, Whatley said.
For the past 35 years, IRG, based in Los Angeles, has specialized in taking over big, closed corporate and governmental facilities.
IRG is a privately held investment firm specializing in the acquisition, management, development and adaptive reuse of commercial real estate across the country. The company boasts more than 100 properties totaling more than 50 million square feet of facilities in 25 states, according to a corporate overview provided by IRG. The company manages all aspects of the real estate process, from acquisition through asset management and disposition. Services include property management, leasing and marketing, financing and fundraising and investor relations.
Lichter has gotten to know Goodyear pretty well over the years.