Apache Junction council tonight to discuss 90,000-square-foot indoor manufacturing facility for Tomahawk and Baseline

(Graphic courtesy of the city of Apache Junction. It is also at http://apachejunction.legistar.com/gateway.aspx?M=F&ID=1dfa3529-a441-4447-babd-645728791a47.pdf.)

Rezoning an 8-acre property to allow the construction of a 90,000-square-foot indoor manufacturing facility just north of the northwest corner of South Tomahawk Road and East Baseline Avenue will be discussed at the Tuesday, Feb. 6, meeting of the Apache Junction City Council. It begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd. The agenda is at https://apachejunction.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

That’s bigger than a 160-foot-wide and 360-foot-long football field with end zones, which is 57,600 square feet.

The property owner, J&J Property Holdings LC, and Americana Building Products, the applicant, represented by Geff Purcell, are seeking a rezoning from General Rural Low Density Single-family Detached Residential (“RS-GR”) and Industrial (“B-5”) to Industrial by Planned Development (“B-5/PD”).

The land acquisition is dependent upon the zoning change, Mr. Purcell, VP of operations at Americana Building Products, said in an e-mail to the Independent.

“If everything goes smoothly we would hope to break ground early spring and be in the building sometime last quarter,” he said. “We are truly excited to be locating in Apache Junction. We have our roots in a small town in the Midwest but we felt very much at home in AJ. City Manager (Bryant) Powell and Mayor (Jeff) Serdy been exceptionally supportive. Larry Kirch, director of development services, Rudy Esquivias, senior planner and E’lan Vallender, economic development have helped guide us through their process. There have been a host of people in different departments reviewing our plans and we appreciate all their work to speed this along.”

Americana Building Products also owns PW Athletic Manufacturing Co. and Americana Powder Finishing, headquartered in Salem, Illinois, and employ about 110 people at their various locations, including Mesa, Mr. Esquivias, senior planner for the city of Apache Junction, wrote in a staff report available with the agenda. “The company manufactures aluminum and fabric awnings, patio covers, pergolas, commercial awning and walkway covers, metal shelters for parks, schools and businesses, outdoor sports equipment and bleachers, and outdoor site furnishings. They also offer metal coating services to other businesses, using a powder-coating technology. This aspect of the business alone will provide 20 to 30 new jobs. Their products are marketed through Lowes and other large home improvement and lumberyard chains,” he said.

“We currently have 25 employees working in a leased facility in Mesa. All of these employees will move into this new location along with all the current equipment,” Mr. Purcell said. “We already have a powder-coating operation at this facility used to paint our products, but we will be expanding that operation extensively to provide coating services to other manufacturing companies as well as individuals. We expect our largest employee growth to be in that area with 20 to 30 additional jobs over the next year or two. We feel this coating operation could help attract other manufacturers to the area. Often plant location decisions are based on proximity to coating companies to reduce shipping costs and turnaround times,” he said.

“We are expecting to make a capital investment of over $1 million in additional equipment for this new facility. We will need additional CNC operators, welders, metal fabricators and CDL truck drivers as we grow into the new location,” Mr. Purcell said of computer numerical control operators and commercial driver’s license truck drivers. “Our building product division will also begin distribution and manufacturing our residential and commercial shade products at this location. With the housing market taking off in the Valley we are excited to be able to offer our products to area contractors. Most of our products are custom made to order in just a few days. We will be looking for a sales representative to help with our marketing efforts to local contractors.”

There will be little truck traffic and noise, he said. “We will have very limited truck traffic. We currently only have 2-3 inbound trucks per day and 3-4 outbound trucks per day. The layout shown in the picture is only conceptual from last fall. Over the last few weeks we have determined that the building may be better located north with the truck docks going on the south side so a mirror image flip along the north south direction. We are very sensitive to local residents’ concerns,” he said.

The manufacturing facility is to be designed with a stucco-style exterior treatment on the east and south sides of the building with wrap-around extensions on the edges, with the building painted in varied desert tone colors, with covered parking against the building and other architectural treatments. One 12-foot-high multi-tenant monument sign is to be allowed along the Tomahawk Road frontage, according to the staff report.

The Apache Junction Planning and Zoning Board voted 6-0 on Jan. 23 to recommend that the Apache Junction City Council approve the request.
“It’s something we definitely need. I am really looking forward to something like this,” Commissioner Michael Frank said of the facility prior to the vote.

Chairwoman Theresa Nesser agreed.

“When I went online and read my stuff, it’s like ‘What?!’” she said prior to the vote.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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