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McClatchy-Tribune  06/11/2014 10:03 AM ET
Off-road vehicle maker's expansion part of Juarez resurgence [El Paso Times, Texas :: ]

June 11--Canadian-based BRP Inc., which makes off-road recreational vehicles, plans to have a 500,000-square-foot factory built in Juárez -- the largest factory to be built in Juárez in several years.

The project, to go under construction in the next few months, will cost more than $83 million, with BRP investing just over $50 million and Mexican development company Vesta investing more than $33 million, officials reported.

The factory will be the largest built in the Juárez area since Foxconn opened its massive manufacturing campus in 2009 across the border from Santa Teresa, N.M., said Christian Perez Giese, director of global real estate company CBRE Group's El Paso office, which represented Vesta in the BRP deal. Foxconn assembles Dell computers at its San Jeronimo complex.

The new factory, BRP's second in Juárez, is expected to employ 900 people when its fully operational in 2017, the company said. It's expected to begin operations by the end of next year.

Vesta, a Mexico City-based industrial developer, is building the factory, which it will lease to BRP. Vesta officials announced the developer will spend just over $33 million on the project. The BRP investment is $55 million in Canadian dollars.

BRP's factory plans are part of a recent resurgence in industrial construction activity in Juárez, which is just now recovering from the 2008-2009 global recession, said Giese of CBRE, a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate company.

Last year, much of Juárez's newest industrial properties were leased up, which is prompting companies to again build new facilities, Giese said.

A 200,000-square-foot factory for Ruskin (manufacturer of air-control products for buildings) broke ground last month, Hansuh Automotive is building a 50,000-square-foot addition to its Juárez factory, another Asian auto manufacturer is expected to break ground soon on a 100,000-square-foot factory, and a developer is putting up a 118,000-square-foot industrial building in hope of luring a tenant, Giese reported.

BRP has no El Paso warehouse or distribution operations, Giese said. Even so, new Juárez factories bring additional opportunities for El Paso-based suppliers, he said.

BRP Chief Executive Officer Jose Boisjoli, in a statement, said the new factory is being built to meet future demand and in expectation of entering new off-road-vehicle segments.

"The off-road industry is strong and growing fast and our Can-Am all terrain and side-by-side vehicles continue to make inroads in the marketplace," Boisjoli said.

BRP had sales last year of almost $3 billion, and a profit of more than $54 million. Those amounts are larger in Canadian dollars.

BRP several years ago revamped the former RCA TV plant in the Bermudez Industrial Park for its Juárez manufacturing operations. The 410,000-square-foot factory employs 1,600 people. It assembles Can-Am all terrain and side-by-side vehicles, and engines, according to the company's Web site. That plant will remain in operation when the new factory opens, BRP officials said.

The new factory will be built in an industrial area near the Zaragoza international bridge, about six miles from the existing factory.

Putting another plant in Juárez made sense, Sylvain Blanchette, BRP vice president of Mexico operations, said in a statement. BRP's existing plant is operating well, and the company has a strong talent pool in Juárez, she said.

BRP has seven factories, including another factory in Querétaro, and two in the United States.

More information: brp.com

Vic Kolenc may be reached at 915-546-6421.

 

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