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Va. company buys General Motors facility

November 19, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The same company that bought the former World Kitchen plant outside of Martinsburg has purchased the large General Motors facility off Interstate 81 and plans to include GM as its first tenant.

The 226-acre General Motors Service and Parts Operation Processing Center was purchased by Berkeley Business Park Associates II, which is part of The Shockey Companies based in Winchester, Va.

The plant consists of 2.2 million square feet of floor space.

"We will be dividing it up into sections and leasing it to various tenants for various purposes, mainly warehouse and distribution," Ralph Shockey, chairman of The Shockey Companies' board of directors, said Friday.

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Also, other commercial and industrial facilities could be built on the acreage around the plant, he said.

General Motors asked that the sales price not be disclosed, Shockey said. The sale was finalized on Wednesday.

General Motors plans to lease 400,000 to 500,000 square feet of space to continue a portion of its operations, Shockey said.

Usage of the plant could be similar to what now is in the former World Kitchen plant - previously known as the Corning plant - off U.S. 11 south of Martinsburg. That facility contains four tenants leasing about 90 percent of the property, Shockey said.

Although it might take a couple of years, Shockey said he is confident tenants will be found to fill the former GM plant.

"We have some prospective tenants that we're working with that will take some large spaces," Shockey said.

The plant has been declared free of any industrial contamination.

"It's a beautiful building and it's very well maintained," Shockey said. "It's an excellent property."

In September 2004, GM officials announced that operations at the facility would be phased out over several years, beginning with packaging jobs being shifted to three plants in Michigan.

The processing center, which opened in 1968, is one of two General Motors plants open near Martinsburg.

GM's newer building, a $30 million parts distribution center, opened in Cumbo Yard Industrial Park in 1999. That facility was not to be affected by the phase-out of operations at the processing center, GM officials said last year.

Altogether, the two plants employed about 440 people, officials said last year.

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