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Posted August 29, 2012 | comments 3 Comments

Rubbermaid buys old lamp factory for $9 million

By Sally Voth svoth@nvdaily.com

Nearly two years after the lights went out at the General Electric lamp factory in Kernstown, the building has sold for $9 million.

The GE facility at 125 Apple Valley Road shut down in September 2010 after 35 years. About 200 people worked at the plant, which made household incandescent light bulbs.

Stricter energy regulations and a move toward more energy-efficient compact-fluorescent bulbs were cited in the plant's closure.

Winchester-based Rubbermaid Commercial Products LLC completed the purchase of the nearly half-million-square-foot facility in late June, said Richard Bell, principal broker of Adams Nelson & Associates.

"It's one of the biggest buildings in the market," he said. "We had been showing it to multiple parties all along, but Rubbermaid had expressed interest early. Eventually, we were able to get the contract.

"It was a complicated project and we enjoyed working with GE. They're a very organized group. They know how to get their properties ready for sale. Rubbermaid was a very knowledgeable buyer."

The building's footprint is about 454,000 square-feet, and with mezzanine and office space added to it, the facility is "just shy of a half-million square feet," Bell said.

The asking price was $13 million, but the sale went through for $9 million, he said.

"It was one of the bigger commercial properties -- well property of any type -- in this market, so yeah, it was a big deal," Bell said. "We originally took it to market softly in March of 2010, and I think we officially hit [the] market -- because they did not announce the closing of the plant until later that year."

Before GE left, the company reverted the plant back to a shell facility, according to Bell.

"It's going to be a state-of-the-art distribution center, and we're looking at opening some time first quarter 2013," Rubbermaid spokeswoman Jennifer Schneider said Wednesday.

Rubbermaid will be transitioning its distribution center in Martinsburg, W.Va., to the Kernstown site, she said. Workers from that site will be transferred to the new one, according to Schneider.

Rubbermaid employs about 1,100 workers in Winchester and Frederick County, she said.

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