VON HOFFMAN PLANT TO GET NEW LIFE

The new owner of the former Von Hoffman printing plant on Monroe Avenue in Frederick expects to being leasing the property this spring to between one and four commercial tenants.

Von Hoffman Corp., a textbook publisher headquartered in Saint Louis, announced plans in November 2004 to shut down the Frederick plant and mover operations to other plants in Iowa, putting 160 employees out of work. The plant has been idle since last January.

Richard Griffin, director of the office of economic development, said at the time that he expected “the building will be occupied fairly quickly. In corporate terms, were not talking a couple of days, or weeks. We’re talking about several months.”

Building Exchange Corp. of Frederick acquired the 189,876- square foot building for $7 million in September under the name 200 Monroe LLC, according to William Meissner, Vice President of Ruppert Properties of Laytonsville, which owns both entities.

At the time, the broker, Gersten Commercial Real Estate of Washington, D.C., identified the property as one of the only large investment-quality vacant warehouse and distribution facilities within Frederick city limits.

The plant was built in 1972 on 10 acres near Interstates 70 and 270, according to Gersten. It was built up over the next 23 years. Von Hoffman acquired the plant in 1998 from Custom Printing Co. of Owenville. When the property went on the market, Gersten anticipated interest from value-added developers that might want to break up the property for smaller users. Several companies have expressed interest for relocation or expansion there, according to Gersten.

Ruppert Properties has not officially started marketing the property, but Meissner identified its target tenants as companies needing a warehouse distribution center or light manufacturing or assembly facilities.

The plan for now is to recondition the building to accommodate anywhere from one to four tenants. “One of our goals in Frederick… is to revitalize existing commercial space for the good of the surrounding community, not just the business community” Meissner said in a statement. The property he said, will also receive aesthetic enhancements including landscaping, windows, doors, and facade improvements.

Ruppert Properties has signed Tyler-Donegan Real estate as the leasing agent for the Von Hoffman.

Previously, the company refurbished the former Frederick Trading Building, now known as the Frederick Trading Center, at the junction of Route 26 and Monocacy Lane at the north end of the city. According to company information, that building was purchased vacant in 2001 and is now fully leased.

Other area projects by Ruppert Properties include the sale or refurbishing of 15 finished parcels in Stanford Business Park, just outside of Frederick. Currently, Ruppert Properties has plans for constructing Stanford Trading Center III, IV, and V with a late 2006 anticipated delivery date.