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REYNOSA, MEXICO-Brunswick Corp., headquartered in Lake Forest, IL has purchased a 90,000-sf manufacturing facility in El Puente Industrial Park, a maquiladora park in Reynosa, Mexico. Tom Boyd, a first vice president of international properties for CB Richard Ellis Inc. in Houston, tells GlobeSt.com that the buyer will be the first company to make boats in a maquiladora factory.

“They are ahead of their competition,” says Boyd, broker on the sale. Brunswick purchased the building and an adjacent 12.5 acres from Jeld-Win, an Oregon-based door maker that once owned the 200-acre park’s four buildings.

Jeld-Win has pulled out of the area, a move indicative of the tight economic times south of the border. Jeld-Win’s other buildings were bought by Invencare, Die Casto-Mex and Pilling, which has since put its structure on the market.

Brunswick’s building is valued at more than $3 million. Improvements are projected to take its value above $5 million.

Boyd says the region is attracting new faces such as Maytag and Brunswick, but also losing a significant amount of others, such as Johnson Controls. Thus, growth is staying relatively flat. “Down there, they say that when the US gets a cold, Mexico gets pneumonia,” Boyd explains.

Meanwhile, the maquiladoras are facing stiff competition from China. Companies previously using Mexican labor, at a labor cost of roughly $2 per hour, have shifted to China where labor is running 40 cents per hour.

Boyd points out companies heading overseas mainly are manufacturers of small components that can be tightly packed into large shipping containers and represent industries that aren’t time sensitive. It doesn’t mean that Reynosa and other maquiladora towns will be left out in the cold. Their main drivers, such as the automotive industry, will rebound when the US economy does and in turn stoke the border town industrial pools. There are roughly 4,000 maquiladoras operating the full length of the border, employing more than 1.3 million Mexican workers.

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