by John R. Karman III, Business First Staff Writer
Steel Technologies Inc. plans to nearly double its presence at the Landis Lakes TowneCenter in far eastern Jefferson County as the result of a consolidation of some of its local operations.
The Louisville-based company, which processes steel for the automotive, appliance, lawn and garden, agricultural and office equipment industries, had leased 14,000 square feet at the mixed-use development from Faulkner Real Estate Corp.
A recently signed deal increases the amount of space to 27,000 square feet in two buildings, according to Jeff Ellison, Louisville-based Faulkner’s vice president and director of leasing.
Steel Technologies executive vice president Stuart Ray said the company is vacating about 12,000 square feet at the Eastpoint Business Center and moving those operations to Landis Lakes, which is located at Shelbyville Road and South English Station Road, east of the Gene Snyder Freeway.
Those operations include marketing and administrative functions, as well as the company’s legal and traffic departments, he said. They currently are houses at Triton Office Park, a development in Eastpoint that is owned by Louisville’s Fenley Real Estate.
About 100 Steel Tech Workers to be at Landis Lakes
Landis Lakes’ proximity to Steel Technologies’ headquarters at 15415 Shelbyville Road, adjacent to Vahalla Golf Club, was one of the reasons for the move, according to Ray. He said the company plans eventually to expand its headquarters and move all local operations to its campus, but won’t happen for three to five years.
Steel Technologies, which was acquired by Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A) Inc. in 2007, has more than 1,000 employees at 23 locations in North America.
Of that number, 198 work in Louisville, according to Ray. About 70 currently are at Landis Lakes, he said. Another 30 or so will be relocated from Eastpoint.
Ray called Landis Lakes, which includes a mix of office and retail tenants, “a great property” and said the consolidation makes sense from a logistical standpoint.
He also praised Faulkner’s management of the commercial development.
Wild Eggs to open in September
Fred Faulkner, president of the local real estate firm, said the Steel Technologies deal will fill the 45,000 square feet of office space at Landis Lakes TowneCenter, a 9.3-acre development with two, tow-story buildings.
Each of the buildings has retail on the first floor and office space on the second.
Steel Technologies is the anchor office tenant. Most of the other occupants are smaller medical office users.
“It’s a big deal for us, and it’s a big deal for that property,” Faulkner said of the expanded lease with Steel Technologies.
Of the 45,000 square feet of retail space at Landis Lakes, about 20,000 square feet remains available, Ellison said.
Faulkner recently experienced success on that front, too, landing a Wild Eggs restaurant that is slated to open in September.
“They’re going to be a great addition,” Faulkner said. “There’s no question they’ll create considerable traffic for us.”
Other retail tenants at Landis Lakes include Java Brewing Co., Honey Beez, a children’s clothing store specializing in private school uniforms and the Smocking Shop, which sells sewing machines.
Dinner restaurant a target
Landis Lakes TowneCenter was proposed in 2001 and was hailed as the first commercial project to adhere to the guidelines of Cornerstone 2020, Jefferson County’s long-term development plan.
The first building at the center was completed in 2004 and the second in 2006.
Although the recession has crippled retail expansions both locally and across the country, Ellison said he believes Landis Lakes has some “momentum” because of the growth of upscale residential neighborhoods near the center and area residents’ demands for services.
“Commercial (development) is just now starting to make its way to the other side of the Gene Snyder,” he said.
Retail tenants being courted by Faulkner include a high-end grocery store, boutique shops and a medical spa or wellness center.
The company also has had talks with several established local restaurant owners about operating a sit-down dinner concept at Landis Lakes, according to Faulkner.
He said he is confident an agreement is “pretty close,” although he declined to say with whom.
“It’s just going to have to be the right fit,” he said.