Oak Brook, Ill.-based Franklin Partners LLC plans a $5.5 million renovation that will raise the roof of the vacant plant at 4247 Eastern Ave. SE.
The developer will boost the 15-foot roof to 32 feet over about 70 percent of the plant's 318,000 square feet to accommodate Undercar Products Group Inc., a division of a Toronto-based auto supplier now operating at 900 Hynes Ave. SW. The city approved a brownfield designation this week that will enable both Franklin and Undercar to seek state tax credits.
Auto industry fallout has created a demand for more capacity among companies that have weathered the storm, developer Donald J. Shoemaker said.
"Now we're seeing all the auto suppliers that survived out looking for more space," he said. "(Undercar has) outgrown their facility. Our biggest challenge is getting them moved without (interrupting production)."
Undercar makes mostly HVAC systems, air induction systems and washer bottles and systems for major automakers. The expansion will help the company increase its injection-molding operation, an Undercar representative told the city's Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.
Shoemaker said the company will sign an 11-year lease to operate at the site, which will be updated into a state-of-the art manufacturing facility.