Munters Group to Build Plant in Roanoke Region

The climate solutions provider will develop the facility in Botetourt Center at Greenfield in Botetourt County.

Munters Group plant site, Botetourt Center at Greenfield, Botetourt County, Va.

Munters Group plant site, Botetourt Center at Greenfield. Image courtesy of Botetourt County Virginia

Munters Group AB has announced plans to develop a new $36 million facility in Botetourt Center at Greenfield, an approximately 500-acre research and advanced manufacturing business park in Botetourt County, Va., just outside of Roanoke. The Stockholm-based climate solutions provider will build the 365,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art plant as a replacement for its current plant located roughly 45 miles away in Buena Vista, Va.

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Munters’ new facility in Botetourt Center will accommodate manufacturing and R&D activity as well as data center cooling systems and high-temperature industrial process systems. The project constitutes an expansion and multi-faceted upgrade over the company’s current facility. “Moving to Greenfield offers us the opportunity to develop a build-to-suit facility, designed specifically for our needs, allowing us to work in a safer and more efficient environment,” Michael Gantert, president, data centers, with Munters Corp., told Commercial Property Executive. “This location will eliminate our current logistics and utility challenges, while also giving us access to a larger population center to grow our workforce. This location also puts us in a good position to retain our current employee base.” Munters expects its staff of approximately 200 to make the move to the new facility.

Local and regional officials and groups supported Munters’ decision to stay put in the Commonwealth of Virginia and relocate to the Roanoke area, Botetourt County and the Roanoke Regional Partnership among them. Botetourt is providing the company with $150,000 in jobs training credit with the Virginia University or Community College System. The County also came through with the equivalent of $300,000 as a credit toward the purchase of the property in Botetourt Center.

Strong foundation

Part of the Greater Shenandoah Valley, Botetourt County’s industrial sector had been faring well in the few years before COVID-19 hit, regularly welcoming new companies. In the second quarter of 2018, Italian auto manufacturer Eldor Corp.’s 250,000-square-foot build-to-suit facility reached completion in Botetourt Center, marking the only industrial project to deliver in the Valley during the quarter. And in 2019, Pratt Industries, the fifth-largest corrugated packaging company in the U.S., announced it would invest more than $20 million to complete a 160,000-square-foot shell building, also in Botetourt Center.

The entire Roanoke region continued to grow amid the pandemic, as the national industrial sector thrived due in no small part to the skyrocketing e-commerce. The overall vacancy rate in the Greater Roanoke area in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 4.9 percent, and the region recorded positive net absorption totaling more than 110,000 square feet for the year, according to research from Colliers International. The forecast for 2021 is positive. “The amount of planned warehouse set to break ground in 2021 is expected to exceed the 2.64 million seen in 2020 as developers seek to capitalize on the growing demand for Class A space,” according to the Colliers report.

Local officials believe the future bodes well for Botetourt County too. “We feel as if the Munters win in Botetourt sends a positive signal to the region and the Commonwealth of Virginia that BoCo is coming out of 2020 very strong and with our sights set on the future rather than totally consumed by the past,” Gary Larrowe, administrator of Botetourt County, told CPE. “This first announcement for 2021 is a testimony about how we have strived to manage and grow even in the most difficult of times. We will never forget the loss and the lessons gained from 2020.” Munters has tapped Graham & Co. to serve as developer of its new Botetourt facility, which is on track to be fully operational by the end of July 2022.

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