Company buys part of Ford plant

Published 10:29 pm Friday, February 14, 2014

Plans for a portion of the former Ford truck plant in Norfolk will improve operations of businesses aligned under The Schaubach Companies, North Suffolk businessman Dwight Schaubach says.

CBRE Hampton Roads reported in a news release that VRC Ventures has sold the Virginia Renaissance Center at 2424 Springfield Ave. in Norfolk to The Schaubach Companies for $4.1 million.

Three parcels involved in the deal included one of 10.88 acres, another of 4.31 acres, and the third of 2.66 acres, according to CBRE, which added that the largest parcel also holds a 30,000-square-foot building with multiple grade-level doors.

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Schaubach said the largest parcel would be transformed into a trucking facility, which would entail expanding the building by 12,000 square feet and other renovations.

“We are renovating a truck wash that was a bus wash,” he said, adding a fuel island would also be renovated.

A new recycling collection facility is planned for another parcel, he said. “We will bring our recycling materials to that facility, load it (onto trucks), and haul it to the plant in Hampton to be processed,” he added.

On the third parcel, Schaubach said, an “office and central station” would be built for Johns Brothers Security and the Johns Brothers heating and cooling company.

The deal settled in the first week of January, Schaubach said. He reported that the expansion and renovation plans are already in motion.

“I’ve got all the plans for the office expansion into the city of Norfolk,” he said. “Plans for the recycling collection facility are in to the city of Norfolk. We are just wanting for them to approve (the plans).”

The building has been ordered for the recycling collection facility, he said, and “we are ready to go on the other building.”

Schaubach described the purchase and associated plans as “very important” in the overall vision for The Schaubach Companies, which has its roots in seven chicken and seafood restaurants Schaubach opened in Suffolk, Norfolk and Virginia Beach by 1980.

“Now we will be next to each other, with security and heating and cooling across the street,” Schaubach said. “Plus the location has good access — and ingress and egress and traffic control and lights. It’s just much better than where we were.”

The property is at the intersection of East Indian River Road and Ford Drive, and Schaubach pointed to the multiple lanes of Indian River, saying, “It’s just a much better setup.”

Schaubach will not have access to a 400-foot concrete pier that’s part of the wider property. The remaining available parcels, which are approximately 50 acres, do have access, according to CBRE.

The Ford plant, modeled after the company’s groundbreaking River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Mich., opened in 1925 and closed in 2007. It produced some of the automaker’s best-known models, including the Model T and F-150.