Devreco agrees to purchase Labinal building

Salisbury development company Devreco is purchasing the former Glen Avenue site of Labinal Power Systems, a 160,000-square-foot building on 12 acres in the heart of Salisbury.

The building has been a location for local manufacturing for more than three decades.

A former clothes-making facility, Grumman Aerospace Corp. acquired the site in 1985 and converted it to a high tech operation, where it engaged in electrical wiring production for highly complex military aircraft and equipment.

A group of Grumman employees later took over the site, where they operated Harvard Custom Manufacturing. Labinal later assumed its control, but ultimately relocated 100 of the plant’s 700 employees to Texas.

The state assessment value of the property is about $2.9 million.

“This building has been a staple in our community for decades, employing thousands of people,” said Devreco leader Brad Gillis. “The property has been out of sight for years as performing government contract work. It is now our responsibility to unveil the building to the public with new attractive facades and functional parking; we strongly believe this will attract new and expanding businesses to Salisbury.

Devreco settled on the property just last week and will go through the approval process for redevelopment. The developer hopes to attract local, regional and national users to occupy the huge and highly secure facility adjacent to the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

“Repurposing infill development buildings in great locations such is 600 Glen Avenue is a passion for us,” Gillis said. “We plan to leverage community needs and the opportunities to unlock maximum  potential and breathe new life into it.”

It has been two years since Labinal announced its departure. City and county economic development officials had voiced concerns about the building’s prospects for redevelopment. The Devreco move, however, seems to fit the trends in repurposing massive manufacturing facilities.

“This was a collaboration that started over two years ago when we heard Labinal planned to close the Salisbury facility,” said Henry H. Hanna of  SVN – Miller Commercial Real Estate, who brokered the deal.

“We formed an exceptional team that included Chris Peek, John McClellan and myself to work with Dave Ryan of Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development. In cooperation with Jim Hazard of E Smith Realty based in Dallas, we completed an 18-month national search that concluded with Devreco as the buyer.”

Devreco is a full-service real estate development company that offers custom solutions for land purchase, building program development and turnkey project management. The team works in conjunction with architects, government planners and others on both new and retooled projects.

The company has overseen many redevelopment sites in Downtown Salisbury, with Headquarters Live being one of its recent high-profile conversions.  

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