Source: The Birmingham News – article by Michael Tomberlin

Nextran Truck Center’s Birmingham operation has purchased its building and adjacent property as it pursues expansion.

Officials at the Jacksonville, Fla.-based network of medium and heavy-duty truck sales and service centers spent months looking around the metro area for a new site to buy but ended up purchasing the building it has leased for five years from the Barber Companies.

Nextran not only bought the 31,000-square-foot building at 3101 Messer Airport Highway, but also 4.6 acres of property.

Jimmy Sirmans, general manager of Nextran’s Birmingham facility, said the purchase puts the company in position for growth.

“We wanted to get some longevity here by buying property,” Sirmans said. “In eight to 12 months, we will probably do something with the adjacent property.”

Birmingham Mayor William Bell said keeping Nextran in the city was important.

“We are extremely excited that Nextran has chosen to stay in Birmingham when they had options to relocate outside of the city,” Bell said Tuesday. “This punctuates Birmingham’s location as a transportation center, which is a key element in site location decisions.”

Tracey Morant Adams, director for the mayor’s economic development office, said retaining a company is often more important than luring new prospects.

“Business retention is a critical element to our economic development efforts in the city,” she said. “Nextran’s decision to remain in Birmingham gives us the opportunity to retain over 50 jobs with future growth opportunity.”

Nextran has a large parts and service center for working on trucks. It uses Birmingham and 11 other locations in Georgia and Florida as a network for servicing trucks on the road. It also sells trucks built by Mack, Volvo, Ford, Isuzu, GMC and Mitsubishi, as well as used trucks.

Jack Brown, broker with Graham & Co., said he spent 18 months trying to find a suitable site for Nextran to buy so it could develop a new center for the metro area.

“We needed something with good interstate access and good visibility,” Brown said. “We looked and looked and decided to approach Barber about selling the existing facility along with some extra land Barber also owned next to it.”

Sirmans said the company considered a number of sites, including vacant car dealerships but decided it needed a larger building for its parts and service facility — a building about the size as it already had.

“We’re glad it worked out,” Sirmans said.

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