Cathy Dyson writes about King George County.
Pennsylvania company buys Mid-Atlantic Precast
A Pennsylvania company that builds noise barriers, retaining walls and other concrete products purchased the Mid-Atlantic Precast property in King George County on Tuesday for $2.55 million.
The price “actually was higher” than expected, said Mark Motley, president of the Richmond company that auctioned the property.
Faddis Concrete Products, which has home offices about 30 miles west of Philadelphia, plans to “get active fairly quickly” at the King George site, President Bob Hess said.
The company hopes to employ about 50 workers at the facility, which is in King George Industrial Park and has been vacant since Mid-Atlantic shut down in January.
The plant will become the sixth for Faddis—and by far its largest, Hess said.
The Pennsylvania company employs about 150 workers in five plants at four different locations, Hess said.
Mid-Atlantic, which made hollow-core walls for hotels, dormitories and apartment buildings, opened in October 2009 among considerable fanfare that included a reception with county and economic development officials. Problems developed as soon as it opened, as the company learned the day of its grand opening that it wouldn’t get two big projects it was counting on, Mid-Atlantic President David Stone said at the time.
Mid-Atlantic had to lay off people soon after opening and reduce other operations.
In 2009, Mid-Atlantic hoped to employ 20 workers, then double its work force as the economy rebounded.
Instead, by the time the company closed, the staff was down to four, said former employee Shawn Newgrad.
Mid-Atlantic was about $8 million in debt, according to the foreclosure advertisement in The Free Lance–Star. Its debt included a loan through the federal Small Business Administration.
“Everything looked promising” when Mid-Atlantic opened, Newgrad said on Tuesday.
“It’s such a shame the economy is in the state it’s in.”
Newgrad attended Tuesday’s auction with about six other former Mid-Atlantic employees and about 30 people in the audience. He gave his business card to Hess after the sale, and Hess encouraged others interested in working at the plant to contact him. He’ll probably bring in his own managers, but certainly expects to hire local workers, he said Tuesday.
Hess was one of 12 bidders who traveled from across the country for the sale. Motley’s Auction & Realty Group of Richmond initially took bids on the property as four separate tracts. First was the 18 acres of land and the 71,422-square-foot building, assessed at $2.34 million.
Bids for the Spancrete production line, concrete mixing system and bridge crane came next.
Then, Motley’s said it would take bids on combinations of tracts.
Several people in the audience and on the phone with the Motley crew wanted the equipment only; others bid on the entire package.
Bids went back and forth for several minutes, and Motley men in blue blazers knelt on the concrete floor and talked with bidders or conferred with those who stood in the background, away from the cluster of chairs and big-screen televisions that showed the bids.
Almost 50 minutes into the sale, Motley announced the creditors had decided the property and equipment would be sold together, not separately.
“Looks like you all are going to get to keep this operation here. Congratulations,” said James Sorensen, who was hoping to expand his concrete plant in Denver with some of Mid-Atlantic’s equipment.
Like Ken Thompson, a bidder from Southern California who works with precast pipes, Sorensen wasn’t interested in the property.
But Hess and another bidder, Jignesh Patel of Detroit, were—and their bidding war lasted long enough to get the price from $2.45 million to $2.55 million.
Patel thought the bidding for equipment was in line with what he expected to pay, but said the price for real estate was too high. His company does construction work on military installations in the United States and overseas and would have liked to locate a branch in King George, especially with all the nearby military interests.
“It would have been a nice addition,” Patel said.
Hess said his company also had been eyeing the King George property.
He does a lot of work in the Baltimore and Washington area and wanted a facility farther south. “We felt like this might be the right opportunity,” he said.
His company will install its own equipment to manufacture precast concrete barriers. It will use other elements of the operation, such as the crane and mixer. Hess said there’s not much of a market these days for the type of hollow-core walls that Mid-Atlantic made.
That’s why he’ll stick with safety and noise barriers and other types of walls used in highway construction.
More information about the company is available online at faddis.com.