CLEVELAND—Saint-Gobain S.A.'s Performance Plastics unit isn't moving far for its new home.
The division will renovate a 53,000-sq.-ft. building in Solon, about seven miles away from its current headquarters in Aurora, Ohio. It anticipates occupying the facility sometime in January or February.
The firm secured a grant under Solon's Jobs Creation Program.
The unit will be able to consolidate two other functional units in nearby Streetsboro and Hudson, Ohio, into one location and combine 116 employees under one roof—68 from the Aurora location and 48 from the combined shared services facilities.
“Over the last eight years or so, we've almost doubled in size as far as the global business, and we've basically run out of space,” Performance Plastics President Thomas Kinisky said at the firm's Manufacturing Forum in Cleveland on Nov. 5. “We took a look around and decided on staying in this area. That was the No. 1 thing. We were able to do that.”
The building is more than double the size of its current 21,200-sq.-ft. headquarters. Kinisky said Performance Plastics has added 11 employees since Nov. 2013 and expects to add about 20 more within the next three years.
“We have no place to put people now, and we have a plan to hire more in 2016,” he said. “We have no choice—we literally have no places for people to sit right now.”
Kinisky said the new headquarters will have a larger product display area with larger conference rooms for customers to see Saint-Gobain's capabilities. The firm also will be able to host larger customer events.
“We're hoping to have a completely different work environment for our employees,” he said. “The building we're in now is 1970s style, and we hadn't had a chance to make those renovations. Now we're getting a chance to do those things we always wanted to do.”
Even though Solon and Aurora are only about 20 minutes apart, Kinisky said the firm would have liked to stay in Aurora but could not find any buildings available that fit its requirements.
“We wanted to renovate an existing building,” he said. “We didn't want to build from the beginning because that would take too long, and we were going to outgrow our building faster than waiting for a brand new building. We never looked at the idea of building a make-to-suit building from scratch. When we started to look at buildings that were 50,000 square feet, there just weren't any in Aurora. It came down to the availability of space.
“Northeast Ohio is the birthplace of the rubber industry. We want to have a presence here. Keeping the headquarters here and growing here is a very positive thing.”