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Brookhaven’s new spec building getting ‘bites’

A new spec building in Linbrook Business Park is getting some attention, though it is still in the early stages of construction.

The building is being built with the same goals as the park’s initial spec building which is now owned by Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company — to draw prospective new businesses to the Brookhaven/Lincoln County area by providing a developed property ready to be tailored to the needs of the buyer.

“We changed the design of this building based on other clients’ feedback,” said Garrick Combs, executive director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Economic Development Alliance, as he addressed the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen at its regular meeting Tuesday.

Although the previous building was built with a concrete floor, it is the only such building in Mississippi or Alabama to have a prebuilt floor before it was purchased by a client, Combs said. This building has a floor of crushed gravel, which will allow whatever company that purchases the building to install the type of floor best suited to their business’ particular requirements.

A 100,000-square-foot pad has been completed, as well as storm drainage, Combs said, and solar powered cameras have been installed for security and observation of construction.

Fewer columns were also used in the interior of the building, allowing for larger clear bays, with structural integrity enhanced with funds saved by moving to the gravel floor. The new building will also be 30 feet tall at the eaves instead of 28 feet like the Keystone building — a modification suggested by feedback from Keystone and prospective clients.

Keystone is running with nine employees at the moment, with the goal of employing 30 or more people within 24 months in the company’s partnership with Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Workforce Education program. Brookhaven native Fred Buie purchased the building and in February publicly announced his intentions to bring a portion of his electrical manufacturing business back to his hometown from the company’s headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

“He’s done everything he has said he’s going to do, so far,” Combs said.

The new building is expected to be “substantially complete” by late spring, depending on weather, Combs said.

The Keystone building is still on the EDA website, he said, to give a visual to anyone interested until the new building is completed and photographed.

“It’s there as bait, really,” Combs said, “and it’s getting bites.”

The building will be 50,000 square feet on the 100,000-square-foot pad, with the ability to be expanded to 150,000 square feet. The property is 10 acres, allowing for all parking, access and other clearances required for a building of that size.

Combs said he’s happy with the global reach of response the first building got and the nationwide reach the new building has had already. They are accomplishing the EDA’s purpose, he said.

“It’s our responsibility to make Brookhaven desirable,” he said.