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JRL Enterprises buying Wellcraft facility

  • By
  • | 6:38 a.m. November 9, 2012
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Manatee–Sarasota
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Cape Coral-based JRL Enterprises Inc. announced plans to purchase the former Wellcraft manufacturing facility in south Manatee County to expand the composite tool-making business of an affiliated company, JRL Ventures Inc. The expansion is expected to create 80 new jobs over three years, according to Sharon Hillstrom, president and CEO of the Manatee Economic Development Corp.

“The former Wellcraft facility has been sitting idle since 2008 when the marine manufacturing operation was moved,” Hillstrom says in a press release. “We are pleased to work with Bob Long, whose engineering and custom composite manufacturing business will bring this large property back to life with high-impact jobs.”

Long, who worked as president of Wellcraft in Manatee County from 1976 through the '80s, is the owner and CEO of JRL Enterprises, its affiliate, JRL Ventures and an associated business, Marine Concepts.

Long says he purchased the property Nov. 1, but as of deadline the sale had not been recorded and reported. The Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court website still indicates that the Wellcraft buildings, located at 6775 and 7150 E. 15th St., 1651 Whitfield Ave., 1715 E. 67th Ave., Sarasota, are owned by an affiliate of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Platinum Equity LLC. In early 2010, Platinum Equity acquired the 28.67-acre site, which houses a two-story office building and five warehouse buildings totaling 381,973 square feet through a bankruptcy auction.

Long says he has since resold the two-story office building to another company. He plans to initially occupy two of the five warehouse buildings and lease out space in the remaining buildings.

Long and his wife, Karen, purchased Marine Concepts in 1994, and today the company has 135 employees. The companies provide design engineering and manufacturing of composite-material plugs and molds used by other manufacturers to create parts and products.

“We are busting at the seams at our current locations in Cape Coral and Pine Island,” Long says in a press release. “We searched in Lee County for an appropriate facility and considered out-of-state opportunities, but we ultimately turned to Manatee County where I had worked for so long. The former Wellcraft facility has the elements we need, such as size, ventilation and some necessary equipment.”

JRL Ventures qualified for state and county economic development incentives. The state of Florida has committed $192,000, while Manatee County government approved up to $48,000 in performance-based incentives. To qualify for the incentives, the company must create 80 jobs over three years with an average annual wage of at least $34,556, which is equivalent to the county average. The project also qualified for the state's “brownfield” program, which could provide up to $160,000 in sales tax rebates for the cleanup.


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