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RIVERPORT, KY-Kentucky Trailer, a maker of custom truck trailers for industries such as movers and automotive transport, is moving from its Louisville, KY location to an existing 240,000-sf facility in the Jefferson Riverport industrial park. Company officials tell GlobeSt.com that the firm will likely double its space on the new site within a few years. The relocation will initially cost about $18.5 million.

The company has been on its 33-acre property at 2601 S. Third St. for 130 years, starting as the Kentucky Wagon Manufacturing firm. However, the company needed to expand, and the parcel is surrounded by the University of Louisville. “We’re now in about 450,000 sf, but it’s spread out around several buildings. We knew we needed to move to other buildings with more open spans, to help us better serve the market,” says Charles Ducas, VP and general manager at the company.

The University of Louisville Foundation has purchased the S. Third Street site for an undisclosed amount. The college president James Ramsey has not said how the property will be used, though in a statement he said, “it opens the door for a dramatic transformation as our Belknap campus grows from 287 acres to nearly 320 acres.”

Ducas tells GlobeSt.com that his firm has an option on another 25 acres next to its new building. “We may build another building, probably about the same size. We need to think about what we will need for the next 50 years,” he says. The company will start its renovation of the site soon, he says, and will ad on 20,000 sf of office. The firm will be able to keep its paint shop operation at the S. Third Street site for three years, Ducas says.

The company had been considering a move to Atlanta or Indianapolis. However, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority provided the firm with $13.5 million in tax incentives, through the Kentucky Industrial Revitalization Act, to stay in the state. About 280 jobs were saved, estimates Carmen Hickerson with the Greater Louisville organization.

Ducas says the Riverport location wasn’t just about the money savings. “These are custom, hand-built trailers, and we need to preserve the talented workforce. We can’t just pick up and move somewhere else and find people who know how to do this,” he says.

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