A former Pfizer lab and office building in the Vigo County Industrial Park, now in a deteriorated condition, could see new life as home to a growing Terre Haute measurement gauging systems company.
In an unanimous vote, the Vigo County Redvelopment Commission on Tuesday approved a resolution to execute a license agreement with Industrial Maintenance Engineering Inc. doing business as AIS Gauging, which allows the company access to the property to make improvements.
The company, currently located at 5350 N. 13th St., produces non-contacting web measurement and control systems. The company has a patent-pending, full-width measurement device which can detect product and/or process defects, according to the company’s website.
The action by the Redevelopment Commission allows the company quicker access to the property while the county prepares a bid package.
It is a similar method that allowed Aviagen and subsidiary Select Genetics access to the industrial park to do site work prior to purchasing property and building a turkey incubation and hatching facility, said Jeff Lind, attorney for the commission.
“This give them the right to get onto the property, but they have no ownership or [possession] interest in the property” Lind said. While the company may do cleanup and improvements, that work would belong to the commission should AIS not bid.
“It is a no-lose proposition for the Redevelopment Commission,” Lind said.
Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., said the former Pfizer building has been vacant for many years, has no heat and has had its windows boarded.
While the building structure “has good bones, it is in need of work. As it sits today, this is not an asset; it is a liability to the Redevelopment Commission,” Witt said.
As part of its incentive, the Redevelopment Commission would extend a road by the building to Carlisle Road. About 100 feet of the road had been removed by Pfizer, Witt said.
Additionally, the building and property would be offered for $1. AIS Gauging intends to invest $300,000 to $350,000 on improvements to the interior of the former lab/office building, Witt said.
Also, the commission intends to extend a water line from Harlan Road to Pfizer Drive, which would service the building and the east side of the industrial park. The property had formerly received water for a nearby company when it was occupied by Pfizer, but that supply is no longer available, Witt said.
Lind said the county must first obtain the average of two appraisals on the building and 6 acres of land before a bid package is prepared.
Incorporated in 1998, AIS Gauging moved into manufacturing in 2004 in the garage of owner John Young. In 2010, it constructed 2,800 square of manufacturing and 600 square feet of office space at its current facility on North 13th Street. In 2014, the company added 2,100 square feet to the west side of the building, giving it 5,500 square feet.
“The company has 11 employees and an income from sales and service for 2018 was over $2.3 million,” Witt said of the company. “Of the 11 employees, eight are full time positions with salaries averaging over $62,000 per year,” Witt said.
The company is showing 30 percent growth this year with a target income of more than $3 million, Witt said. The company is now the sixth-largest gauging company in the nation in terms of annual income, Witt said. Additionally, the company is in the midst of acquiring an Ohio business, which will add nine additional employees, Witt said.