City of Saline Agreement Could Bring National Ceiling & Partitions to Industrial Park

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The City of Saline plans to sell 3.6 acres of land in the Sauk Trail Business Park to Welt Holdings, Inc., which plans to build a 10,000-square-foot home for National Ceiling & Partitions, Inc.

The city-owned 3.6-acre is located on Beech Court, directly behind the vacant land beside Zippy's auto wash.

At Monday's city council meeting, council unanimously approved the real estate purchase and development agreement between the city and Welt Holdings, LLC, for the purchase price of $195,000.

National Ceiling & Partitions, Inc., plans to move its corporate office, sales office and warehouse to Saline.

Kaylee Welt said the firm planned to move into its new home in October of 2021. Welt told council the firm has 10 employees and plans to grow to at least 15.

Assistant City Manager Mike Greene said there would be no need to rezone the property, currently zoned for industrial use. He said there could be a need for a setback variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals down the road. Greene said he anticipated work could being in the spring.

"But right now, we don't anticipate any of that," Greene said.

Councillor Dean Girbach said he thought the business would be a good fit for the area.

"They are a clean business and they'll make a good buffer for any other additional businesses or residential or whatever occurs to the north," Girbach said. "And it was a fair price."

The city was asking $60,000 an acre for the property. Welt Holdings initially offered $50,000 an acre and they came to a deal at $55,000 an acre, according to realtor Tony Caprarese, of Swisher Commercial.

"I think this is a good price. The (city) task force did recommend a counteroffer and the buyer met us halfway between full list price and original offer price," Caprarese said. "I think this would be a terrific addition to the Sauk Trail Business Park."

This would be yet another piece of property sold by the city using the services of Caprarese. 

Mayor Marl said selling the vacant city-owned land has been a top priority since he became Mayor in 2013. 

"The benefit is not for the city to hold them in perpetuity, the benefit is to transfer them from public ownership to private ownership see them added to the tax rolls and in the process see jobs, services and amenities created for our residents," Marl said. "I am very pleased that we're able to move forward  this evening and I will be enthusiastically supporting the motion."

Many of the land sales have gone well.

The Zippy auto wash was quickly constructed and has been in operation for years. The land sale that led to the hotel project and Ace Hardware store remains a cautionary tale, to some degree. So, too, was the sale of 207 S. Monroe St. to Damian Farrel for the stalled Fairdene development.

Because of the stalled developments, the city has added language to this agreement.

City Manager Colleen O'Toole spoke about language stipulating a "tw0-year time-period for the business to acquire the certificate of occupancy."

"So start to finish, the project needs to be completed within two years, though we don't anticipate anywhere near that timeline for this project," O'Toole said.

The contract language also calls for construction to begin no later than six months after closing. There is a 180-day due diligence period that can be extended should the city agree.

The city also sold land, using a different realtor, for the stalled Fairdene development at 207 S. Monroe St.

Several council members thanked City Manager Colleen O'Toole for ensuring the agreement included language that put time limits on the development.

Caprarese said interest demand is growing for land in Saline's industrial parks.

"In the past 18 months, we've seen almost a total absorption in the industrial market of existing industrial buildings. We've started to see more and more interested buyers and users who have been actively looking to purchase property and build their industrial building in the City of Saline's industrial parks," Caprarese said.

Assuming this sale and the GBA Development sales proceed, all of the Sauk Trail Business Park property will have been sold. The city still has three parcels for sale in the Redies and Shelton Business Parks. For more information, click here.

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