Buffalo Rock Co. is expanding its presence in metro Birmingham with a large distribution campus off Lakeshore Parkway that will create about 50 new jobs.
It’s a $75 million investment for the Birmingham-based company in a new center that encompasses about 77 acres off Lakeshore Parkway.
The company acquired 895,000 square feet of warehouse space in the facility at 400 Industrial Drive as well as the adjacent 120,000-square-foot office building at 800 Lakeshore Parkway in deals totaling $39.2 million, according to Jefferson County public records. Real Capital Solutions in Louisville, Colorado, was the seller.
Philip Currie and Edwin Moss of J.H. Berry & Gilbert represented the buyer, and Ogden Deaton and Walter Brown of Graham & Co. represented the seller.
PNC Bank provided $46 million in financing for the deals, according to public records. Burr & Forman provided legal support.
“This is the largest infrastructure investment in our company’s history, and we are proud to make it in Birmingham,” said Jimmy Lee, chairman of the board and CEO of Buffalo Rock. “We’ve been in business in Birmingham since 1901, and today’s announcement is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to this community. We are grateful for the hard work of all our employee-partners and for local elected officials whose support sustains our continued success.”
The company will add between 25 and 50 new jobs at the center.
“Buffalo Rock has been a great corporate partner to the city of Birmingham for well more than a century,” Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “We are grateful for the company’s investments that create jobs in our community, as well as the Lee family’s significant contributions over all these years to support education, workforce development and other city initiatives. Jimmy, the Lee family, and Buffalo Rock have demonstrated unwavering commitment to our city.”
The warehouse property sits on about 64 acres and includes a 780,000-square-foot dry storage warehouse, a shallow bay warehouse that is 70,000 square feet and cross dock and fleet building totaling 45,000 square feet. The office building and its parking lots make up the remaining almost 13 acres.
The warehouse and office building will serve as the company’s central office and warehouse distribution center with new technology such as a $20 million vertique system, a high-speed automated four-lane pick system, which will be able to handle up to 2,000 different beverage cues, said Matthew Dent, president and COO at Buffalo Rock.
Coronavirus has been a challenge, Dent told the Birmingham Business Journal, but this project is not in response to the pandemic but part of the company’s long-term, strategic plan as it sports growth numbers that have not been published yet, he said.
“We are investing in meaningful ways over the next few years to enhance our supply-chain infrastructure, and the goal of that is to be able to better serve our customers across our entire Buffalo Rock footprint,” Dent said. “We have enormous growth coming for the company as part of our strategic plan, and this infrastructure is going in place to be able to support that growth. The technology that we’re adding is going to really enhance our ability to serve our customers across the whole footprint as we expand that portfolio.”
The project is also part of the company’s vision to be a major player in the beverage industry.
“We will have the greatest consumer offering of anybody in the industry,” Dent said. “We’re not at liberty to disclose what those moves are, but over the next year or two we’ll be expanding our portfolio in major ways.”
Hoar Program Management has begun pre-construction planning, and the renovation project is expected to last about 12 months.
It is another significant project for the Lakeshore Parkway corridor that is seeing large facilities under construction for several major companies including Amazon, Carvana, FedEx Ground and Lowe’s.