Justin Lichter sees untapped potential in all the old cranes, neglected buildings and empty warehouses in the city’s former 150-acre naval hardware factory.
Lichter, vice president of Los Angeles-based Industrial Realty Group, said his company was interested in acquiring the underused real estate along the Pole Line and Quinn roads for about two years before it closed recently.
IRG, which specializes in the rehabilitation of large older properties, has deep pockets and big plans for the plant, which will now be called Titan Center.
“We’re probably the only ones in the world now who say, ‘This place is amazing. It’s beautiful. There is so much potential,” Lichter said. “That’s what we do. We find potential in these older assets, and then we bring them back to life.”
Although the buildings are somewhat dilapidated, Lichter explained that they have industrial cranes, impressive ceiling heights, and would cost a fortune to build these days.
The factory, completed in 1943 to build and repair guns used by the United States Navy during World War II, comprises 23 buildings with 1.4 million square feet of industrial, warehouse and office space combined. It houses several current commercial and industrial tenants, but about half of the space is vacant.
Bannock Development Corp. Executive Director, MiaCate Kennedy. . She said IRG is also operating quickly, which is encouraging given the transformative nature of what the company has planned.
âThey’re just good at what they do and they’ve got the dollars, and it’s like ‘Wow, they picked here,’â Kennedy said. “We need the heart of our region to beat, and that’s what it’s going to do.”
The Zebe family with Colliers has already started marketing the site.
Kennedy said Bannock Development would help recruit companies with good jobs to use the space – a task that will likely require travel. She said the business development organization also plans to assign a team of four to focus on retaining and expanding existing businesses, which should help businesses moving to the hub be successful in the long term. .
âThis is by far one of the biggest projects that we will see in this area in the middle of the city that is going to be successful and grow rapidly,â Kennedy said.
Kennedy said IRG had met with surrounding businesses and landlords, including the FBI data center, to assess local needs. She is delighted that the IRG is considering integrating mixed uses into the Titan Center.
For example, Lichter said that between 5 and 9 acres of land near the entrance to Quinn Road will be devoted to an open retail and commercial area with restaurants, cafes and maybe even a hotel. It will provide services to workers at the center, as well as residents and businesses in the surrounding area.
Lichter said the residential and commercial area “will also create a better sense of arrival at the site.”
Lichter said the property has first-rate rail access – some of the warehouses being crossed by rail tracks – and that he also plans to open a transshipment facility. Lumber, construction materials and other bulky goods would be unloaded from trains at the site and redirected to trucks, he said. Other businesses in the center could also benefit from a new intermodal facility in Pocatello where goods are loaded onto trains for direct shipment to ports in Oregon or Washington, Lichter said.
IRG plans to work on some deferred maintenance and beautification of the property and has also prioritized the concerns of current tenants, such as fixing leaks and moving from monthly to long-term leases.
The closest facilities with similar equipment are mostly located in the Midwest, Lichter said.
âWe are seeing out-of-state groups interested in the site and even interested in moving to the out-of-state site and just expanding,â Lichter said, predicting the plans would result in the ‘addition of a “very large number of jobs”. the local economy.
IRG operates in approximately 30 states and leases over 100 million square feet of space. They redeveloped several old corporate and government properties, including old auto factories.
Lichter said the NOP factory reminded him of a miniature version of the old McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif., Which his company had previously bought and refitted. He said the IRG had taken 647 âaesthetically challengedâ buildings at the base and upgraded them, attracting 250 businesses and 15,000 jobs. The old base is also home to a private airport, used by California Emergency Services and California Fire.
Lichter sees similar potential to Pocatello.
âWe think it’s going to be a strong market in the long run,â Lichter said.