The former AJ Wright building is officially off the market!
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The former AJ Wright building is officially off the market! The 500,000 plus square foot building was purchased by Holladay Properties and an out of state silent partner today. John Phair, the President and CEO of Holladay Properties made it very clear they will lease the building to one, two, or at the most three manufactures in the near future.
Phair said close to 12 prospective manufactures have already toured the facility and have shown interest in leasing space. Now that the deal is final and Holladay Properties owns the building and assets- negotiations can begin.
Phair said what sold him on the AJ Wright Distribution Center was how meticulous the building was built. "We have 175 commercial and industrial customers spread throughout our buildings and we know a good building when we see one," said Phair.
AJ Wright shut down production on the corner of west Sample Street and Olive street early last year, leaving close to 600 people out of work. South Bend city officials are excited to hear there will soon be new life at the deserted location.
Don Inks the South Bend Economic Development Director said, "We have a local developer who is now going to be actively marketing that facility and trying to find a use to put inside of it which hopefully will mean jobs and an investment for the community."
Inks said the city invested close to 8 million dollars into the initial development back in the early 2000's... and because AJ Wright fell short of what it promised on the job front... the company is paying the city back close to $350,000 dollars every year. That contract did call for certain jobs to be created and the responsibility remains with AJ Wright and TJX for those jobs, they have made payments in the past," Inks said. The company will continue to do so until 2019.
Phair said, "We have been showing the building off and on for about the past 60 days and we obviously proceeded with the closing because we felt strongly that it would fill up soon."
He expects whatever companies end up occupying this space will create roughly two to three hundred jobs in the community. "I think it will probably be a retailer, they won't sell out of the front door, but instead they'll distribute to hundreds of stores in the Midwest," Phair said.
Phair was clear his company plans to lease the space out to manufactures that sign contracts- not sell the building to manufactures. He said the majority of manufactures prefer leasing space verses purchasing space.