The primary new star of the East Aldine District is the Kennedy Greens Business Park being developed by Clay Development & Construction, Inc. This industrial park is situated on the east side of JFK on the north side of Greens Bayou. It encompasses 186 acres of which 40 acres are devoted to a detention pond. According to Charlie Christ, Development Manager, Clay purchased the property in 2008. After creating a Municipal Utility District, land development including streets and utilities commenced in late 2009. Clay is a full service development, design and construction company with in-house architects and engineers that obviate the necessity of an industrial company client having to contract specialists in several fields to bring a new project to completion. Clay offers both build-to-suit and design-build options to its clients. The firm also assists its company clients in obtaining county tax abatements, depending on the sizes and scopes of the projects involved.
One of the companies moving into a new facility in Kennedy Greens is Enerflow whose co-director, Mark Williamson, was happy to discuss their plans and even provided a firsthand tour of their recently completed 45,000 square foot plant in Northwest Houston. The company manufactures 32 individual products, most of which are truck, trailer or skid mounted processing units or systems used for fracturing, cementing and drilling mud applications, as well as workover rigs. Their primary customers are oil and gas well servicing companies such as Weatherford, Schumberger and BJ.
Enerflow, based in Calgary, was founded in 2003 by Mark and Larry Lindholm and the firm is growing rapidly. Three years ago, when most companies were pulling in their horns during the economic downturn, Enerflow took advantage of the decline. When one of its competitors downsized their company, Enerflow hired all of that firm’s laid off personnel and opened a plant in Tulsa where it is producing truck, trailer and skid mounted twin cementer units. With orders multiplying for a number of its products, Enerflow expects the company’s sales to quadruple over the current five year period. Much of the growth in business is occurring overseas – in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South America and most recently in Australia. Mark says they even considered locating plants in China and Saudi Arabia but backed off due to concerns about maintaining quality in the case of China, and living conditions for American managers and engineers in the latter case. Another concern in Asia was protection of intellectual property rights. In fact, Enerflow is even declining to bid on requirements for equipment using the latest technologies in certain countries because it doesn’t want developing country competitors to copy what they have spent hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of R&D money developing.
The company’s selection of Kennedy Greens for its newest plant location came about when Mark responded to an ad for another location by Boyd Commercial Real Estate. The property advertised did not match Enerflow’s needs. However, the listing broker, Andy Sowell, mentioned Kennedy Greens and introduced Mark to the Clay organization. Mark liked the site’s proximity to the airport, the opportunity to own their own site and building, the precast concrete tilt wall type of construction offered by Clay, and the corporate image projected by being in a planned business park.
Enerflow’s building site is a 13.4 acre parcel on the south side of Kennedy Commerce Drive in the middle of the business park. The firm has also acquired a 2.6 acre parcel adjacent to the east for future expansion. The plant and office will total 101,250 square feet of which 15,000 square feet will be office space. The building will be in the shape of a long rectangle which will facilitate production line work flow. There will be one 20 ton and four 10 ton overhead cranes to start. In addition, there will be a fully equipped painting facility in the building. Access will be by three large at grade overhead doors at both ends of the building.
Enerflow plans to launch and expand production of its Kennedy Greens plant in three phases. In Phase I, starting when the building is completed toward the end of this year, the company will concentrate production on frac pumpers for which the firm has over 400 on order now. These trailer and skid mounted units are in heavy demand by gas well service companies operating in shale producing areas such as the huge Eagle Ford formation in Central Texas and now even in Europe. The trailer mounted frac pumpers sell for $1.0 – $1.5 million each.
For its Phase I operation, Enerflow will hire 200 people, including a general manager, a chief financial officer, a human resources manager, engineers and plant and office personnel. Hiring has already started beginning with a job fair organized by Workforce Solutions (Texas Workforce Commission) in early May.
Within six months to a year following Phase I start-up, Enerflow plans to launch Phase II – production of frac blenders at the facility. The company is designing work flows for the manufacture of this product now and expects to need an additional 100 employees for this phase. In Phase III, hopefully within 1.5 – 2.0 years of start-up, Enerflow wants to be able to manufacture workover rigs at the facility. This phase is likely to require substantial production planning, however, as Enerflow wants to be able to produce customized rigs for its customers.
In addition to Enerflow, there will be four other companies starting production or warehouse operations in Kennedy Greens this year. The first will be Cummins, which will assemble engines for a wide variety of oil field applications. The company will open a 67,500 square foot production facility, including a 10,000 square foot office, on the 6.0 acre parcel it purchased just west of the Enerflow site. The project is a design-build project. The plant will have a 30’ ceiling and be equipped with three 20 ton cranes. Cummins expects to employ 50 people at its facility by the end of 2012, according to the newly appointed manager, Carlos Ayala. Cummins is headquartered in Columbus, Indiana.
Also starting operations right away will be Woodgrain Millwork, a supplier of residential doors, windows and screens based in Norcross, Georgia. This company will have the largest facility among the first five park occupants with a 102,000 square foot building, including an 8,000 square foot office, on an 8.9 acre site near JFK. The warehouse will be a front loading, dock high distribution facility with a 32’ ceiling height for high pile stocking. The building will be a design-build project meaning that the firm purchased and own their own land parcel and will own the building being constructed by Clay.
Another company to be domiciled in Kennedy Greens is Alliance Supply Management for whom Clay is constructing another design-build facility that will be situated on a 4.5 acre parcel directly across the street and north of the Enerflow plant. Alliance is a subsidiary of the WILWEL Group which is headquartered in New Jersey. The company supplies a full range of supplies and foodstuffs to offshore drilling platforms. The building will be a 50,225 SF office/ warehouse with an 8,000 square foot office. According to Bruce Margolin, president of the group, the company will hire around 50 people to operate its Kennedy Greens facility.
The fifth first generation Kennedy Greens company will be Precision Drilling Co. which will assemble drilling rigs on site. The company purchased a large 19.7 acre parcel near the east edge of the park fronting on Vickery Drive so they could have a sizeable outside area in which to test rigs. Rig assembly will take place in a 74,000 square foot building that will include a two-story 20,000 square foot office. Building completion is expected before the end of 2011.