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HOLLAND, MI-Challenger Manufacturing Co. has purchased the 198,700-sf former Herman Miller chair plant here. Challenge, based in Walker, MI, is a Tier 1 automotive supplier and plans to open their new metal stamping and assembly operations at the facility at 1400 South Pine.

The transaction price was not disclosed, but the facility was originally listed at $7.9 million. The building sits on 86.5 acres just off I-196–a parcel large enough for the current facility to more than triple in size.

The sale was handled by CB Richard Ellis. Jeff Cutler, CBRE’s director of Corporate Services, worked with Bob Horn, CBRE industrial advisor, to handle negotiations between Challenge and Herman Miller.

“Through our marketing of the facility we had several different offers, ” says Cutler. “ One offer was just for the building; another was just for the excess land. In the end, we were pleased to work with Challenge on their offer for both the building and the land. With its close proximity to the expressway, Tulip City Airport and the available room for expansion it’s a great fit.”

In has been a tough year for industry in the city. Kraft Foods announced in January that it was closing its Holland LifeSavers plant, a move that cost 600 local workers their jobs. Herman Miller and the metro area’s other furniture maker, Haworth, announced closures and layoffs in 2003 of a total of about 750 workers.

“The sale of this facility is a positive for everyone,” says John Scholten, real estate manager for Herman Miller. “When Kraft Foods announced hundreds of layoffs last spring, the community was in need of a new and developing business presence.”

Until recently, the chair factory had employed about 400 people.

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