Instead, it rehabbed a site with environmental problems and dealt with several other challenges to achieve construction of the 267,000-square-foot facility.
"Oatey felt they had been in Cleveland and had a strong bond with the city," says Howard Lichtig, vice president of CB Richard Ellis who represented Oatey in the deal. "They wanted to find a site that would allow them to increase their warehousing capability but be logistically close to their manufacturing operations so that the transportation costs between the two buildings wouldn't make it an ineffective plan."
A vacant site off of West 150th Street fit the plumbing supplies manufactuer's needs, but it had environmental problems. At one point, the site had housed a chemical company that dated back to the 1920s.
"It's just one of those sites that all the brokers knew it had some sort of environmental taint, but never understood the scope of the remediation needed," says Lichtig. "But in this case, it made sense for Oatey. It cost 10 times what we initially thought it would, and I don't know how many truckloads of dirt were hauled away, but it exceeded expectations."
Lichtig says companies must tread very carefully when dealing with environmental cleanups.
"It's critical, because when you go into a project, you not only have to agree on those things you know about going in, but also set up a framework for responsibility for those things that become known as you get into a project," says Lichtig. "We though the problem was smaller than it turned out to be, but fortunately, the legal team had worked out the responsibilities in case unknowns came up."
The Oatey Co. is known for its commitment to sustainability and environmental issues, and cleaning up the site was just the first step. The facility was constructed with as many environmentally friendly materials as possible.
"They built a building that furthered their goals of environmental sustainability," says Lichtig.
The environmental issues weren't the only challenges the company faced. The direct route to the site had been blocked by private owners who did not want additional truck traffic cutting through their area. But legal research turned up an easement that granted access to the road by the owner of the site.
"The company wanted to be a good neighbor, though, and created an agreement with the owners of the other property," says Lichtig. "Those owners just didn't want the road to become a cut-through, because they have a lot of pedestrian traffic. So what they agreed on is a gate that will electronically be accessed only by Oatey trucks."
The Oatey Co. will also share in the cost of upkeep of the road. And, it worked with city and state officials to get economic incentives and infrastructure repairs made, including repairs of the road.
Lichtig says that a solid team both outside and inside the company were key to clearing the various challenges thrown in their path.
"Oatey is really a great model for doing things right," says Lichtig. "They did not rush into anything. They looked very seriously at many options. It was a really good example of internal team members looking out into the future and trying to determine what the space needs will be in the next 10 years. They did a very good job of attempting to realistically answer those crystal ball questions.
"They never had an adversarial relationship with anyone. No matter what side of the table you were on, you were never an adversary, always a partner. That approach helped build a rapport that led to a smooth project."
How to reach: CB Richard Ellis, (216) 363-6410; Oatey Co. (216) 267-7100
The Oatey Co. has a commitment to the environment. Its new 267,000-square-foot facility on Cleveland's west side is not only an example of a company choosing to stay in the city and tackle environmental site issues rather than moving to the suburbs, but of a commitment to the environment we all share.
The company will receive the Silver Level designation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for the environmentally sensitive decisions it made, including:
* High-efficiency fluorescent lighting
* Solar power for support services
* Gray water for nonpotable sources
* Recycled structural steel
* Recycled carpet squares
* Low VOC paint and glues
* Recycled concrete (ground and reused on site)
* Remediated brownfield site
Source: CB Richard Ellis.