With designs on reviving a work force still staggered by the economic downturn, an Oregon developer is actively marketing the former manufacturing campus and headquarters for Monaco Coach Corp. that encompasses nine stand-alone facilities situated on 69 acres in Coburg.
Steve Lee and his wife, Sally, finalized the purchase in late June from a division of Navistar International Corp., which acquired Monaco after an industrywide plummet in sales that forced the venerable manufacturer into foreclosure three years ago and left around 2,000 people unemployed. While acknowledging the property’s potential to be parceled out to different buyers – each building is self-sufficient – Lee’s long-time ties to Monaco and the industry have him hoping that “Coburg North Industrial Park” will once again house an RV manufacturer looking to establish a West Coast presence.
“Sally and I developed the Coburg site and also Monaco’s Holiday Rambler facilities in Wakarusa, Ind.,” Lee said. “The quality of construction was far above what you see in the RV industry. Both sites are the Cadillac of industrial complexes with not only top quality construction materials but also an emphasis on energy efficiency and overall aesthetics.”
But, according to Lee, one of the most attractive selling points is the area’s veteran work force.
“We have people that are primed and ready to go to work with no training required,” said Lee. “And unlike Elkhart County, you don’t have the competition for skilled laborers from all the other RV companies. Sally and I truly have a passion for bringing work back to the area.”
He added, “My son, Ryan, who was director of marketing for Monaco, has given a lot of tours to potential buyers. I asked him what it was like to see all those empty buildings. He told me that wasn’t the problem, it was not seeing the faces of all the people that are missing.”
The centerpiece for the property is a 336,849-square-foot production facility, which over the years produced towables and gas motorhomes, and later Monaco’s high-end diesel coaches. Ryan Lee says it’s “absolutely ideal for an RV manufacturer,” adding, “It’s basically in move-in shape. A company could be up and running in 72 hours.”
The plant boasts 8,600 square feet of office area and 340,988 square feet of production space along with an expansive covered storage area, covered loading dock and multiple loading docks and cranes. “It’s first class,” said Ryan Lee. “There are even copper air lines, which are great for tools.”
Lee noted that Navistar is still leasing a facility for its customer service department, but said the company recently moved all towable production to Harrisburg, Ore.
Other features of the property include:
• Nearly 1 million square feet under roof.
• Buildings constructed by Butler Manufacturing.
• Mature landscaping around buildings.
• 200 electric roll-up doors.
• Facilities include a former Monaco medical building and wellness center, and a 12,000-square-foot office building.
• Several manufacturing buildings previously used for chassis production, paint and final finish and component production.
• Close proximity to shipping docks in Portland and also Interstate 5, the main north-west connector on West Coast.
• Wood products all produced in Oregon.
Steve Lee said that he had already shown the property to several commercial developers and was currently conducting two or three major tours a week. “We will probably start off leasing the buildings,” he said. “But if someone wanted to buy it outright we could work them. The local and state governments are also motivated to put people back to work so there should be some incentives available.”