One of Beatrice’s largest manufacturing companies is preparing for a major expansion early next year.
Exmark Manufacturing purchased a nearby warehouse last year, with plans to renovate the building and move several departments into it.
The mower manufacturer, a division of the Toro Company, already owned the building at Ashland Avenue and Industrial Row and uses it for engineering. The recently purchased building is directly to the west it.
Patty Kaufman, Exmark senior finance planner, said the building was previously a mixed use warehouse being rented to several businesses to use.
“After we purchased that we started renovation on it and basically gutted the entire building,” she said. “It will be the division headquarters, meaning the Exmark business will be over there. Engineering sales, marketing, finance, HR will be there. Also on the south side of that building there’s about 30,000 square feet of warehouse we’re using for parts and storage.”
Manufacturing will remain in its current location south of the engineering building.
When offices in the current building are relocated, the manufacturing side of the business will have more room to grow.
“This front office will be converted to manufacturing,” Kaufman said. “With all the people we have out on the plant floor we have things built up on second story places. Those people will be in the front office. That’s probably what this will be used for.”
Daryn Walters, Exmark’s general manager, said the extra space will be an asset to both manufacturing and other departments within the company.
“The new Exmark office building will offer a variety of elements that will inspire our associates while offering a comfortable work environment,” he said. “With sufficient room to grow, the new facility will support our future goals and enable collaboration across all departments and functions. We are grateful for the incredible support from the state of Nebraska, Gage County and City of Beatrice who have helped make this a reality.”
Last February, the Beatrice City Council approved an application for a Site and Building Development Fund grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development for $250,000 for Exmark to expand its facility.
As part of the $8.5 million expansion that includes purchasing an existing warehouse building in the Gage County Industrial Park. Exmark plans to use 25,000 square feet of the 84,000 square foot building as storage space and the rest will be office space for the company’s divisional office.
The grant application listed the purchase price for the site at $2.635 million and estimates the rehabilitation of the building will cost $5.362 million, with an additional $453,000 going toward architect, engineering and legal fees.
Kaufman said the building will be designed to be functional, and address the issue of not having enough room for meetings at the current facility.
“The whole premise of that building really was just to get people moved because we’re overcrowded here,” she said. “We usually can’t find meeting rooms to book. We have a ton of meetings and we also couldn’t hire one more person in this building. There was no space at all. We designed the building for 10 year growth to add our normal amount of employees as the Exmark company grows. It’s designed for that normal growth, and the warehouse was very important also.
“It’s going to be nice and new with lots of meeting spaces, which is one of the biggest complaints we have in this building, finding space to meet.”
Renovations are ongoing, and Kaufman hopes the building will be ready to host an open house event in the spring.
“We’re just being very flexible right now,” she said. “Unfortunately there were all kinds of strange delays. Any time you do construction you have those things going on. Right now our construction guys are still working over there and we’re being flexible with our date.”