Ports & Terminals

America’s Central Port Upgrades Buildings

As part of its program of continuous improvements, America’s Central Port, located at Granite City, Ill., just north of St. Louis and across the Mississippi River, has upgraded and renovated two buildings for potential commercial tenants.  Both buildings were left over from the site’s past as a military facility. After extensive evaluation, both were judged to be worth renovating, according to Alex Burkart, director of strategic marketing and economic outreach for the port.

Building 202 was a former U.S. Army steam plant. From the Army base closure in the early 2000s until the conveyance of the parcel in 2016 to America’s Central Port, no maintenance or repairs were completed on the building. Prior to receiving an Economic Development Authority grant for its renovation, the port had invested over $250,000 in the building to abate asbestos- and lead-containing materials, as well as an additional $300,000 for a new roof and interior demolition. The funds received through the EDA grant allowed the port to transform the space into a 6,500-square-foot facility, with heavy-duty concrete floors, 30-foot ceilings, and large amounts of natural light.

“It’s perfect for a small manufacturer,” said Burkart. 

The space is now occupied by ZeCoat, a research and development company specializing in advanced vacuum coating solutions for the aerospace, defense and astronomy markets. The facility provides seven jobs with an average wage of $57,300  a year, and is projected to create an estimated six more jobs over the next five years, with an average wage of $68,400, according to Burkart.

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ZeCoat’s CEO, David Sheikh, is a local product. He grew up in Granite City and  attended Washington University in St. Louis, and that’s a big part of why he moved his operation from California back to Granite City and America’s Central Port.

Building 203, formerly a U.S. Army locomotive repair shop, is a 40,000- square-foot shell space at America’s Central Port, with 40-foot ceilings at the center and 22-foot ceilings at the eaves. 

With funds from the recent EDA grant, the building recently finished Phase 1 reconstruction, which consisted of $1.42 million in improvements, including selective demolition, structural repairs, roof replacement and miscellaneous site improvements. Finished bathrooms and LED motion sensor lighting will soon be added to the building as well. 

Phase II build-to-suit options and schedule will be determined based on the needs of the prospective tenant. The port will be looking for manufacturers for this space. 

Transporting a value of $1.1B+ in freight annually, with access to six Class-I railroads, two multi-modal harbors, 4 U.S. interstates, warehousing, and multiple development-ready sites, America’s Central Port is one of the largest freight hubs in the Midwest.