Former Lear Plant Gets Another Tenant

June 14, 2007
| By Pete Daly |
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WALKER — Haviland Enterprises plans to purchase part of the former Lear Corp. plant on Alpine Avenue — now known as Avastar Park. According to a Haviland executive, the company is expanding its consumer products division and will create at least a dozen new jobs after it begins moving into the plant this fall.

Haviland will be the third company in the 775,000-square-foot plant, which would bring it to full occupancy — that is, if Amstore stays, according to Jack Buchanan Jr. of The Alpinist Endeavors LLC, the legal entity that owns the 41-acre industrial site at 2150 Alpine Ave. NW.

Amstore, a Coopersville company that makes shelving, display racks and other equipment for retail stores, has a short-term lease on about 525,000 square feet but has not indicated if it will renew that lease, said Buchanan.

Amstore declined to comment.

Another tenant is Grand Rapids Spring & Stamping, which has a long-term lease on almost 108,000 square feet and will start shipping products from the plant after July 1. It is keeping its main facility in Grand Rapids but consolidating others, and will eventually transfer more than 130 employees to Avastar Park. Jim Zawacki of Grand Rapids Spring & Stamping said there will be no immediate creation of new jobs at his company, but said that the move “allows us room for expansion, which we did not have before. Right now, we could not put in another press if we wanted to."

Buchanan said last week that the Haviland purchase of a little more than 100,000 square feet was not officially "a done deal," although it is "likely to go."

Marie Haviland is apparently counting on it.

"We have new business and need more space for both inventory and manufacturing," she said. She is a director of Haviland Enterprises and the daughter of James Bernard Haviland, who founded the Haviland agricultural chemicals company in Grand Rapids about 70 years ago.

Haviland, headquartered at 421 Ann St. NW in Grand Rapids, is no longer in agricultural chemicals. The company, which Haviland said has annual sales of about $75 million, now repackages and distributes swimming pool chemicals throughout the U.S. and Mexico. It also manufactures spiral-wound plastic hose for swimming pool maintenance and for various industrial and landscaping uses.

Mike Marmo, vice president of operations at Haviland, said the purchase of part of the Avastar Park plant and cost of new equipment totals an approximately $3 million investment so far. He added there will be additional capital improvements made by Haviland at the plant.

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