Starting next month, the cavernous Finkle building in the Johnstown Industrial Park will again see the hustle and bustle of industrial distribution.
Since Finkle Distributors when bankrupt in 2010, the 113,400-square-foot building has been largely unused. On Monday, according to Michael Reese, president and chief executive officer of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, a global shipping company headquartered in California signed a lease with the Crossroads Incubator Corp. for majority use of the building.
Yusen Logistics previously occupied a much smaller building adjacent to the industrial park.
“They came to us well over a year ago, looking for more space,” he said. “We really just wanted to keep them in the area.”
According to its website, Yusen moves freight by ship, plane and truck through an international network of warehouses. As a distribution business, the company doesn’t employ many people locally — less than 20 — “but we’re hoping with more space they’ll need more employees,” Reese said.
In some ways, the company’s decision to stay in the Johnstown area is unexpected. When Yusen bought NYK Logistics two years ago, it could have easily moved to Schenectady or Saratoga Springs, both of which have clear access to major shipping arteries — the New York State Thruway and Adirondack Northway.
Saratoga Economic Development Corp. President Denis Brobston said in a past Gazette interview that most shipping companies look for warehouse locations less than a mile from an interstate highway, even taking into account the number of traffic lights between a potential facility and the open road. Yusen Logistics officials couldn’t be reached Wednesday, but Reese said there are a few reasons the distributor stayed in Johnstown.
“They already have a presence here,” he said, “and clients in the immediate area.”
Another reason was the building itself. Finkle Distributors built the structure at 160 Enterprise Drive back in 1996 for basically the same purposes Yusen has in mind. It is leasing 75,000 square feet, but the 24-foot ceilings provide nearly 2 million cubic feet of space, which is the more important shipping figure.
The building’s eight loading bays, Reese said, will also make for quick turnover.
CIC, which owns the building, is now painting walls and replacing carpet in the small office area and making sure all the loading bay equipment works.
“It’s all very minor,” he said, “It’s basically in move-in condition.”
By May 1, the official start of the lease, Yusen will be settled in for what Reese hopes is a long stay. Since the company is global, with a huge web of distribution centers, he said, Yusen should be a stable presence.