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    Posted February 4, 2013 by
    Batavia Township, Ohio

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    Semarjian/Lichter from Industrial Commerce Ltd. (Cleveland), Industrial Realty Group (IRG, Los Angeles) land Huhtamaki at Ford Batavia plant near Cincinnati, creating 300+ jobs with $60M project spanning 900,000 SF

    The Semarjian/Lichter team from Industrial Commerce Ltd. of Cleveland and Industrial Realty Group (IRG) of Los Angeles have fired up 2013 with a Finnish flourish, landing Huhtamaki of Finland and over 300 new jobs in their signature, inimitable adaptive reuse fashion at the former Ford Batavia Transmission plant outside of Cincinnati (Clermont County).

    “We are very pleased that Huhtamaki selected Ohio for this significant investment,” said Kristi Tanner, managing director of JobsOhio. “We would like to thank both Huhtamaki, and the Semarjian/Lichter team, for bringing new life to this former Ford facility.”

    “Clermont County’s partnership with Industrial Commerce Ltd., IRG, Huhtamaki and the State of Ohio demonstrates our commitment to making this community business-friendly,” said Ed Humphrey, president of the Clermont County Board of Commissioners. “We believe that the pace of redevelopment for a facility of this size is unprecedented, and the mix of business and educational resources in one location will spur more business investment, not only here, but in the surrounding area.”

    Huhtamaki (www.huhtamaki.com) is purchasing about half of the 1.8 million-square-foot facility, known as the Ford Batavia Transmission plant, and 60 acres. Based in Espoo, Finland, Huhtamaki is a global manufacturer of consumer and specialty packaging, a unit of Huhtamaki Oyj, founded in 1920 as Huhtamaki Industries. The deal closed on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    “The entire Greater Cincinnati community, particularly Clermont County, will benefit from Huhtamaki’s decision to invest in further growth in the United States,” said Chris Semarjian, managing principal of Industrial Commerce Ltd., IRG’s partner in Ohio. “We welcome Huhtamaki, and we thank the Governor, JobsOhio, and all the economic development professionals who have diligently worked for more than a year to make this project happen.”

    “The Ford Batavia plant has seen a tremendous rebirth since its unfortunate closure in 2008,” said Stu Lichter, president of IRG (www.IRG.cc), citing other tenants such as UC Clermont East, Global Scrap Management and Engineered Mobile Solutions, who have established facilities at the property on James E. Sauls Sr. Drive, just south of Route 32. “With Huhtamaki, the plant’s legacy as the heart of this community is further restored.”

    Semarjian and Lichter singled out the efforts of Dean Miller, vice president of development with IRG Ohio, in putting together the deal. “We are excited to welcome Huhtamaki to our project in Batavia Township. Adaptive reuse is the art of identifying, and realizing opportunity, from properties that are often associated with difficulty and the loss of jobs, and great employers,” Miller said.

    “It is tremendously rewarding to be part of a process with such a great outcome. This is just another step, albeit a big one, in the tradition of Industrial Commerce Ltd. and IRG. We breathe life, jobs, companies, hope and economic growth back into communities,” Miller added.

    Huhtamaki: Serving Nestle, Hershey and Starbucks

    The U.S. operations of Huhtamaki is based in De Soto, Kansas. Huhtamaki operates 64 manufacturing units and several sales offices in 31 countries worldwide. The Batavia plant, located about 25 miles from Downtown Cincinnati and owned by the Ford Motor Co. prior to the Semarjian/Lichter team, will serve customers such as Nestle, Hershey and Starbucks in the foodservice and retail industries, producing paper cups and distributing products made throughout the Huhtamaki network. Huhtamaki is also the manufacturer of the popular Chinet® line of premium disposable tableware.

    “This investment further demonstrates Huhtamaki’s commitment to serving the evolving needs of foodservice and retail customers for tableware, cups, containers, carriers and serviceware,” said Clay Dunn, president of Huhtamaki North America.

    “Today’s announcement caps an exciting 18-month period, in which we completed three acquisitions and added seven production facilities in the U.S to expand our ability to offer customers a broad product line and coast-to-coast coverage from 17 North American plants,” Dunn said.

    “The open-space configuration is ideally suited for world-class capability in productivity and material flow,” added Fred Betzen, vice president of operations with Huhtamaki North America. “This new facility has the space, and infrastructure, to meet growing customer needs for additional products and production volume, and can be expanded over the next several years.”

    “We would like to thank Gov. John Kasich, JobsOhio, Industrial Commerce Ltd., Industrial Realty Group, the University of Cincinnati, and all the officials from Clermont County and elsewhere who were involved in the site-selection process,” said Dunn. “We’re excited to become part of the Batavia community and expand our presence in Ohio, beyond our facilities in New Vienna and Franklin.”

    “As University of Cincinnati Clermont College Dean, I am happy to welcome Huhtamaki to this former manufacturing facility,” said Greg Sojka. “We especially look forward to partnering with them at UC East, where we have established our new workforce development Center for Manufacturing Technology. As a citizen of Clermont County, I am supportive of the ‘manufacturing comeback’ in our region.”

    The Buckeye State and Industrial Commerce Ltd/IRG:
    Deals in Cleveland, outside Columbus, now near Cincinnati

    Today’s announcement of the Huhtamaki deal in Batavia Township, outside of Cincinnati, marks a cross-state coup for the Semarjian/Lichter team from Industrial Commerce Ltd. and IRG. Late last year, the partners announced an acquisition and repositioning campaign that culminated with the purchase of two major facilities, a data center in Cleveland used by RBS/Citizens Bank and the former Masco Cabinetry Plant in Waverly, Ohio, outside of Columbus.

    The team closed Dec. 14 on the Cleveland purchase, a seven-acre, 140,000-square-foot class A office/warehouse/manufacturing facility at 4780 Hinckley Industrial Parkway, and immediately launched its considerable national/international marketing machine to find tenants, and jobs. Semarjian calls the Cleveland property “an impeccably maintained, and incredibly well-equipped, high-tech facility, at the crossroads of Greater Cleveland,” located near Interstates 71, 77, 480 and 80 (Ohio Turkpike).

    Within a week after the Cleveland deal, Semarjian/Lichter closed on the cavernous Masco plant in Waverly, a 2.5 million-square-foot factory that once employed more than 3,400 workers, drawing from five middle-Ohio counties, and simultaneously announced a new tenant: Gilco International Lumber of Varney, West Va.

    Mr. Semarjian can be reached at chris@industrialcommerceltd.com; Mr. Lichter at (562) 803-4761 or slichter@industrialrealtygroup.com. Dean Miller, who will continue marketing the Ford Batavia facility with Semarjian and Lichter, as well as other Industrial Commerce/IRG facilities across Ohio and beyond, can be reached at (513) 383-8351 or dmiller@irgohio.com.
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