Photo by Robin Scholz

The former Engineered Plastic Components building, vacant since 2016, is shown Friday in Rantoul.

RANTOUL — A Buckley-based company has purchased a former Rantoul industrial building that formerly was used to manufacture auto parts.

KCH Commercial Properties LLC, whose president is Kendall Hofer of Buckley, has purchased the former Engineered Plastic Components Corp. building and 10 acres of adjacent land. The building previously housed manufacturing operations for Rantoul Products. No purchase price was disclosed.

KCH agreed to buy the property at auction in April. Joel Zegart, an agent for the real-estate firm that sold the property, said the deal was closed on Friday.

Hofer also operates Buckley-based Hofer Transport.

What the property will be used for remains up in the air.

Zegart’s firm, JBS Advisers, and Rick Levin and Associates, have been contracted by the new owner “to explore opportunities for both the new vacant land and the building.”

“We will be talking to various parties of interest to determine what’s the best course of action to take to optimize the values of the land and the building. We are going to get started on that immediately,” Zegart said.

In the meantime, Hofer will start cleaning out the building and clearing out the remaining equipment before having potential contractors review the electrical needs. Roof repairs are likely needed, Zegart said, and HVAC capability will be assessed.

Zegart said Hofer has several companies and might be able to use part of the property for them, but at 200,000 square feet, the building is larger than he needs.

“Part of our assignment will be to look at opportunities to complement what he is going to be doing with that property,” Zegart said.

He said several companies looked at the property and had the same situation as Hofer: They could use part, but not all, of the facility.

“There is a manufacturer who said, ‘We could use 100,000 square feet and would need to get someone” to share the building with them, Zegart said.

Buying such a building at auction is a tricky business, he said, especially because of the time element. Many of the companies that toured the building needed it sooner than it could be made available.

“Industrial space is in demand, but ... people need it right then and there,” Zegart said. “But it will take a while. I can tell you we’re interested in what any prospective user has in mind. It could be built to suit or whatever.”

One attractive aspect of the building is the ceiling height of 24 to 30 feet, which might be attractive for warehousing or manufacturing purposes.

One group looked at the 10 acres adjacent to the building, and an option is to turn the property into a location suitable for holding tractors and trailers.

The property is in an enterprise zone, so developers will get a sales tax break from the state of Illinois on building improvements.

At auction, there were three bidders on the building. Twelve groups had expressed interest in the property.

The plant had been used to make auto parts for Mitsubishi Motors. But Mitsubishi closed its plant in Normal in 2014, and Engineered Plastic Components closed the Rantoul plant two years later.

Trending Food Videos