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Old Dixie-Narco buildings sold to Calif. firm

January 08, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

RANSON, W.Va. - Three commercial buildings that once were part of the Dixie-Narco vending machine plant have been sold to a Los Angeles firm that specializes in reuse of manufacturing facilities, local officials say.

Whirlpool Corp., which owned the buildings, announced last week that it sold the properties in the Second Street area as part of a larger deal that involved the sale of facilities in Illinois, Arkansas, South Carolina and Iowa.

The Ranson buildings - along with former manufacturing sites in Illinois, Arkansas and Iowa - were sold as a package to Industrial Realty Group of Los Angeles, according to Whirlpool officials.

Industrial Realty Group acquires, preserves, redevelops, cleans and repositions existing properties for modern-day use, according to the company's Web site.

The firm redevelops excess corporate facilities, and closed military and government facilities. It is among the largest private owners of commercial properties in the U.S., the Web site said. Industrial Realty Group is recognized as one of the leaders in repositioning underperforming assets, according to the Web site.

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Jane Peters, director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, which worked on the sale, said she did not know the terms of the deal.

The three buildings have about 230,000 square feet of space and Industrial Realty Group will retrofit the former Dixie-Narco buildings with plans of leasing them to new tenants, Peters said.

The buildings previously were owned by Maytag Corp., which owned Dixie-Narco. Whirlpool acquired Maytag on March 31.

Whirlpool sold the Dixie-Narco vending systems and the Amana commercial microwave business.

Hundreds of people once worked at Dixie-Narco. The Ranson plant closed in the early 1990s.

AB&C Group Inc., a bulk mailing company, moved into part of the plant, but AB&C officials announced last year they were moving to Berkeley County.

Another part of the plant was being leased by Kidde Fire Fighting Inc., which decided last year to close its Ranson operations.

The third building is being used by the City of Ranson as a civic center.

Ranson Mayor David Hamill said Sunday he could not comment on whether the Whirlpool deal with Industrial Realty Group would affect the civic center.

Peters said a company has expressed interest in the building that was used by Kidde Fire Fighting, but she could not offer more details.

"We believe that the sale of these properties and the resulting future reuse and redevelopment is another important step forward in the ongoing transition of each of the communities," David L. Swift, Whirlpool North America president, said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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