Archive for Friday, February 16, 2007

Printer moving to Eudora

Kingston Printing buying plant in Intech Business Park

February 16, 2007

Dick Johnson's two-year search for a new building ends this morning, when the Lawrence printer closes the purchase of a vacant manufacturing plant at the eastern edge of Eudora.

Johnson, owner of Kingston Printing Inc., is buying the former manufacturing home of M-Pact Worldwide at 1310 Kistler Drive in the Intech Business Park along the north side of Kansas Highway 10.

The building, at 40,000 square feet, will be more than twice the size of Kingston's existing space now spread throughout three buildings along Delaware Street in southeast Lawrence.

All 24 Kingston employees already have consented to work eight miles down the road, sealing the deal that will give Johnson's space-starved operation plenty of room to expand through relocation.

"This gives us a chance to grow not only for what we need today, but gives us a chance to grow into the future," he said.

Kingston's sales ballooned by 34 percent last year, to nearly $4 million, as its commercial printing customers in Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City continued to sign on for more work. Among the company's printing jobs: game-day programs and media guides for the Kansas City Chiefs, the annual chancellor's report for Kansas University and a variety of corporate publications for Hill's Pet Nutrition and other clients of Callahan Creek, a Lawrence-based marketing and advertising agency.

The rising workload had left Kingston without enough room to keep up, even with employees working two shifts a day, Johnson said. His search for expansion space in Lawrence -- either by occupying an existing building or building a new one -- failed to produce a workable plan.

Johnson's real estate broker, Kelvin Heck of Grubb & Ellis|The Winbury Group, said that Johnson's frustration was understandable considering that only 3 percent of Lawrence's industrial space was available for lease or purchase.

Building a smaller, 20,000-square-foot center in Lawrence would have cost Johnson $1.2 million to $1.3 million, Heck said. The asking price for the larger M-Pact site was $1.4 million, for a building twice as large and essentially ready to occupy.

"It's a perfect fit for them," Heck said.

Johnson did not disclose the purchase price, other than to say it was less than $1.4 million. Once the sale closes, he plans to start moving his presses, binders, folders and other equipment into the Eudora complex.

He anticipates hiring another seven or eight employees during the next year to work at the center, which has room to install two new six-color presses should the need arise.

The building became available once BSN Medical Inc., which purchased M-Pact last summer, shut down the last of the center's operations late last year. That move eliminated 67 jobs.

Alex Davies, BSN's vice president for finance operations, said that the company was pleased to be selling the property so soon, and to a buyer plenty excited about having room to grow.

"From our perspective, you don't want a building still empty for any apparent reason," Davies said. "It's nice to sell it and move on with life."

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