This property in a portion of Whitehall’s industrial park remains vacant after a land deal for a small manufacturing facility fell through in 2012.
A plan to relocate a tool and engineering facility to the City of Whiteahall’s industrial park, is now off.
Koppel Tool and Engineering, which now works from a rented facility in nearby Spring Lake, has decided not to exercise a land deal with the City of Whitehall.
Whitehall City Manager Scott Huebler announced at the Jan. 2 Whitehall Planning Commission meeting that the land deal had fallen through. Huebler is a member of the planning commission.
The city was offering nearly six acres of land to Koppel for $1 an acre on which the company planned to build a 6,000 square foot facility and move its operations from Spring Lake.
The city’s Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) agreed to sell the property on Ullmans Way to Koppel and pay for a survey of the land.
It would have been the first tenant on the 28 acres the city purchased from Muskegon County to expand the industrial park in the southeast corner of Whitehall.
However, that will not happen, according to Matt Koppel, owner-operater of the company which employs eight full-time workers and two part-time employees.
Koppel said the deal breaker was the unexpected additional excavation costs his builder estimated after testing soils at the site.
He said that because of heavy clay soils at the site, his builder estimated it would add $400,000 to $500,000 to his costs to build.
Koppel also said additional requirements for landscaping, exterior lighting and parking facilities, added costs to the project.
“I’m not going to pay $100 a square foot (for the facility construction),” Koppel said.
In December, 2011, Koppel came to the Whitehall planning commission for a site plan approval. The planners approved of the site plan at its January 2012 meeting. The LDFA made the land offer in Dec. 2012.
Koppel told the planners he wanted to move his facility to Whitehall because of its “business friendly” environment.
Koppel, a Fruitland Township resident, is a Montague High School graduate and has owned the company for 14 years.
The diversified business has customers in the military/aerospace, railroad, solar power, power transmission, fuel handling, motion control, telecommunications and furniture industries.
The company was expected to request a 12-year tax abatement for real and personal property on its investment in the industrial park.
Construction of the Whitehall facility was supposed to have been completed by last summer.
Koppel said his company is now looking to relocate near the Muskegon County Airport.