Former coherent building to get a facelift

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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After years of sitting vacant, the oldest building in the former Coherent campus at the airport industrial park is getting a facelift. The Abbey Company, which purchased the buildings in 2007, plans to spend approximately $250,000 on a new look that will include updated windows and a new entry. “It needed the facelift the most,” Kurt Hysen, regional asset manager for Abbey, said Monday. “So we decided to create a new exterior façade that would more mimic the other buildings.” Sacramento-based GP Construction will handle renovation of the 52,000-square-foot site at 2301 Lindbergh St. The project will take about two months to complete, Hysen said. One of the buildings that made up the campus was sold to Miltenyi Biotec last summer. After extensive renovations, Miltenyi is moving into the space this week, according to Hysen. The campus had two other buildings — 12789 Earhart with 66,000 square feet and 12840 Bill Clark Way, the last offices to be vacated by Coherent, with 80,000 square feet. Coherent drew down its Auburn staff over a period of years, with the last contingent departing last March. The quarter-million-dollar project is in addition to funds Abbey has already spent to paint the exterior of the buildings, repave parking lots and replace a couple of the roofs. “We’ve also split all of the water, gas and electric meters for each of the buildings. That took the longest,” Hysen said. “Previously, all the buildings were on one meter.” Separating the utilities allows the space to be broken into smaller units. “We can lease from 15,000 to 200,000 square feet,” Hysen said. In its search for tenants or buyers, Abbey is focusing on green tech, biotech and clean high-tech companies. “Anything that could utilize the infrastructure that Coherent left in place,” he said. That includes air conditioning and space suitable for research and development, light manufacturing, light assembly, warehouse and offices. The renovation comes at a time when the city of Auburn is working with Airport Industrial Park companies and the Chamber of Commerce to organize an industrial/business park association, Mayor Bridget Powers said Monday. The first meeting, to be held in early February, will be an informational session to determine the scope of work to create the organization. The association would not have a marketing role, but would also address issues related to the business park. “One of our goals is to have more signage to direct people to the industrial business park,” Powers said. “We don’t have as much signage as we’d like to have now.” Funding for the signs would come from grants once the association is established, she said. The idea for the association originated at a forum on the airport industrial park held in September. The Coherent campus buildings continue to generate interest, even if no one actually signs on the dotted line. Hysen said he gives tours almost weekly. And Powers said the city’s Economic Development Department receives frequent calls from companies interested in relocating to the airport industrial park. Gloria Young can be reached at