Burle BuildupAt Lancaster business park, Trago moving in while many tenants grow
Later this month, Althea Ramsay Carrigan will have to vacate her office at Burle Business Park.
That's because Ramsay Carrigan, the vice president of real estate at the park, is making way for a new tenant. In January, she leased her office to Trago Fire Protection Systems as part of a deal involving more than 20,000 square feet. She will relocate elsewhere in the complex.
Trago is setting up a fabrication facility for sprinkler systems, installing pipe cutting and threading equipment. The fledgling company is a spinoff of Trago Mechanical Inc., a southern Lancaster County-based provider of commercial and industrial heating and air conditioning as well as food service equipment.
Burle is ideal for Trago's needs, chief operating officer Tim Moss said. The former RCA television assembly plant has industrial-grade infrastructure, including power, water and compressed-air systems, so Trago can just come in and set up.
Burle has its own on-site power plant and taps just 10 percent of its capacity, Ramsay Carrigan said.
Moss also praised Burle's staff and its flexibility: "These guys are awesome to work with."
Last week in Trago's new workspace, electricians were installing energy-efficient lights overhead. The lights are manufactured by Brontech Industries, another Burle tenant, Ramsay Carrigan said.
"We try to keep it local," she said.
Moss pointed to marks on the floor where various pieces of machinery will go: racks of pipes here, a cutting table there, a welding station over there, a quality-control and inspection station off to one side. Trago will install the equipment later this month. It plans to begin some production in mid-March, "then we'll be on our way," he said.
Trago envisions employing five workers on the shop floor and three office staffers, he said. The company will do steady work for a local boiler manufacturer as well as commissions for individual construction projects, he said.
It hopes to do pre-fabrication for other sprinkler companies, reducing the amount of work they need to do on job sites, Moss said.
"We should be able to turn out a job in a day or two," he said.
The closest similar facility is in Philadelphia, he said.
The addition of Trago brings Burle close to full occupancy, Ramsay Carrigan said. The 1.3-million-square-foot facility is approaching a daily occupancy of 2,000, roughly the per-shift numbers it used to see in its RCA heyday, she said.
Seven tenants have told Ramsay Carrigan they have expansion plans for 2013, she said.
Among them is Advanced Cooling Technologies Inc. The high-tech firm will occupy an additional 10,000 square feet by late spring, spokesman Mark Stevens said. The company will use the space primarily for its energy recovery product line, which uses Advanced Cooling's heat-pipe technology to make large air handlers more efficient, he said.
The company has 70 full-time employees, he said.
A key tenant for Burle is Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Students swarm the business park daily for classes; the college also has administrative offices there.
The students have contributed to a profound demographic shift at the park, Ramsay Carrigan said: Today, its population is about 75 percent female.
Burle took that into account in the design of a new lounge, the park's second, now under construction and slated to open in summer.
The style and color scheme incorporate feminine touches, and portions of the 5,000-square-foot space are designed to encourage the multitasking that Ramsay Carrigan said she sees the college's female students engage in during class breaks.
Burle intends to build an exercise gym for its tenants, she said. Twice the park has identified space, only to end up renting it to a tenant; a third space is now under consideration, she said.
Fitting in tenants is "like a jigsaw puzzle," she said. Most have flex space around them that they can expand into and out of on a month-by-month basis as their needs dictate.
Trago will be taking advantage of the flex-space arrangement, Moss and Ramsay Carrigan said.
A Burle tenant, JR Transportation owner Steve Messner, recommended the park to Trago, Moss said.
"A tenant endorsement, to bring another tenant in," Ramsay Carrigan said. "That's really nice for us."