Updated: Husqvarna taking over vacated American LaFrance factory in Summerville
One of the largest empty commercial buildings in the Charleston region won’t sit idly by for long.
Husqvarna, a well-known maker of chain saws, lawn mowers and other power equipment, is leasing the 450,000-square-foot Summerville factory that American LaFrance vacated over the summer.
Husqvarna is expected to use the former manufacturing plant off Jedburg Road as a warehouse and distribution center.
American LaFrance, which makes fire engines and other heavy-duty vehicles, announced in January it was seeking to relocate under a plan to “steamline” its business. The company moved with little fanfare in early August to a 103,000-square-foot building in Moncks Corner.
American LaFrance’s new manufacturing site is about 20 miles away at 164 Spring Grove Road, off Cypress Gardens Road. In a posting on its Facebook page, the company called its smaller home “a great fit” and optimal for “fire apparatus production.”
“The first fire truck produced in that new facility is rolling off the assembly line this week,” American LaFrance owner Patriarch Partners said in a written statement Monday.
Husqvarna said it had no details to release about its new Summerville location Monday.
The Swedish manufacturer has a large manufacturing plant in Orangeburg, where it announced in 2010 that it would to invest $105 million by 2024. About two years ago, the Stockholm-based company leased a 200,000-square-foot warehouse on North Rhett Avenue in Hanahan to handle finished goods for exporting.
It’s unclear whether Husqvarna will remain in that space.
The Summerville lease was announced Monday by the property owner, Chambers Street Properties. Formerly known as CB Richard Ellis Realty Trust, the Princeton, N.J.-based landlord said it wasn’t authorized to identify the tenant that’s filling its big vacancy in Jedburg Commerce Park.
“The quality of our property and its strategic location enabled us to execute this lease with minimal downtime for the property,” a Chambers Street spokesman said in written statement.
The building, which resembles a fire station, is near U.S. Interstate 26 and Jedburg Road, It was specially built at a cost of about $35 million for American LaFrance, which has struggled financially in recent years.
Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.