Cincinnati commercial construction company Miller Valentine Construction has closed out the last untouched portion of the 45-year-old building: the transition of 90,000 square feet of manufacturing plant into a warehouse space. The completion marks the final phase of a years-long effort by developer Industrial Commercial Properties (ICP) to restore the former plant into an economic powerhouse.

When Ford Motor Company shuttered its Batavia, Ohio, transmission manufacturing plant in 2008, jobs were lost and more than 1.8 million square feet of manufacturing space sat empty. Today, the facility is home to several companies and once again humming with activity.

Repositioning Vacant Space for Growth

ICP is the Midwest’s leader in commercial and industrial leasing, property management, acquisition, design-build, and private-public partnerships. The company has extensive expertise in acquiring and repositioning vacant and utilized assets into commercial ventures. The company purchased the Batavia plant in 2010 and set to make improvements immediately. Miller Valentine was brought on board a few years later to renovate 942,000 square feet for Huhtamaki North America.

Now, with a new pet food manufacturing plant project under construction just a few miles away, time was of the essence to build out the last 90,000 square feet into warehousing space. However, like any renovation project, the work was not without its challenges. Because the space sat empty for 15 years, a significant amount of demolition and cleanup was required.

Extensive Renovation with Zero Safety Incidents

The team first focused on “make safe” activities: flagging and removing outdated and unnecessary mechanical, electrical, and plumbing lines. The team also cut out, cleaned up, and filled in 1,000 linear feet of trenches and brought all concrete flooring up to grade.

One of the larger hurdles involved filling in two machine pits, each totaling 40 feet in width, 75 feet in length, and 14 feet deep. Before work could get underway, the team needed to clean out more than a decade’s worth of debris from the pits. After that, stone fill was added in 10-inch increments. Between truckloads, the fill was compacted and inspected to ensure it would not settle and cause problems down the road. Limited clearance required the team to get creative with equipment placement to prevent damage to the building structure overhead.

Ultimately, fifty-five 30-yard dumpsters filled with scrap metal, insulation, trash, and other debris were hauled away from the site.

“Our extensive experience working in this building and partnering with ICP made for a very streamlined process,” said Matt Allen, project manager. “We knew what to expect and what needed to happen, we had access to all the resources and people who have worked on other portions of this structure, and we mobilized our trade partners to get the work done quickly and efficiently.”

While this project was ongoing, Miller Valentine was also working with ATW, an adjacent tenant in the building, to add space and dock doors to improve their workflow. On both projects, Miller Valentine maintained its signature focus on safety. As a result, all work was completed without a safety incident. Superintendent Jason Bowling credited trade partners Green City Demolition and Biz Com Electric with maintaining strict safety standards.

“Any time you’re doing demolition work there’s a safety risk,” said Superintendent Jason Bowling. “In this case, we had up to 30 people in the building doing demolition work with torches. There are several 13,200-volt electrical lines that runs through the building that we had to demo around. We take safety very seriously, and our trade partners took safety very seriously, and it shows.”

Bringing Value Back to the Community

Under ICP’s direction, the former Ford plant is finding renewed life and bringing jobs back to the area. Miller Valentine is proud to have touched nearly every square foot within the facility.

“We take pride in working with ICP to bring real value to our communities,” said Matt. “This building sat untouched for so long, and we have been able to help bring some value back by giving somebody else an opportunity to move in and start up their own operations. It’s very rewarding to be part of this process.”

Other projects for ICP include the renovation of a Kettering Ohio location.