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Nathan Baker

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On common ground: Mitch Cox, Universal cos. to move into, revamp Traco plant

August 8th, 2014 10:14 pm by Nathan Baker

On common ground: Mitch Cox, Universal cos. to move into, revamp Traco plant

Mitch Cox and Universal companies announced they will move into the derelict Traco building on Silverdale Drive. (Nathan Baker/Johnson City Press)

A vacant former manufacturing site will soon be the headquarters for two of Johnson City’s larger real estate developers.

Mitch Cox Companies and Universal Companies announced Thursday the purchase of the five years empty Traco facility on Silverdale Drive and the in-progress renovation of the 155,000 square feet of industrial floorspace.

According to information supplied by a spokesman for Mitch Cox Companies, the construction firm plans to transform the window manufacturing plant into an upscale, technologically advanced business center, soon to be renamed Silverdale Commons.

Mitch Cox will take up 15,000 square feet of the building and Universal Companies will occupy another 40,000, leaving 100,000 square feet available to rent to other businesses.

Professional Appliance Direct, a Johnson City home appliance and electronics retailer, and Just Jump, a party equipment rental store, were confirmed as tenants in the building, each expected to take up 20,000 square feet.

The Traco property sale, to Mitch Cox and Silverdale Partners GP, was finalized July 16. Mitch Cox construction crews worked last week to remove the facade from the manufacturing building and are planning to install a new front more conducive to the office, warehouse and industrial place the companies hope to foster.

“We are excited about this move for our company,” founder and CEO Mitch Cox said. “The new headquarters will provide elements and capabilities more conducive to growth and collaboration within our organization.”

Universal Companies President Shane Abraham said the need for a new headquarters grew from the company’s recent expansion in manufacturing and distribution.

Universal includes the subsidiaries Universal Development and Construction, Universal Tool and Engineering and Universal Wine and Spirits. The company also develops and manages multifamily housing in all of the Tri-Cities.

Universal plans to take up residence in the new space this fall, while Mitch Cox Companies will move from its current headquarters on Sunset Drive near the beginning of next year.

Traco, a manufacturer of windows and doors, shut down its Johnson City operations in September 2009, moving the product lines to its Pennsylvania plant just north of Pittsburgh.

A year after the closing, the company and its 650 employees were acquired by Alcoa Building and Construction Systems.

In the intervening years, the dormant Traco building has been mentioned as a contender for several projects, including a potential home for the Washington County-Johnson City Animal Shelter and the Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City.

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