SRS, which recycles unusable and off-spec silicon and processes it into usable feedstock for the solar industry, acquired the property at 2433 Eastman Ave. for $6.3 million.
The seller, Art Dreams Inc., which will lease back a portion of the building, was represented by Michael Walsh, SIOR and Melinda Walsh, executive vice presidents at DAUM Commercial Real Estate Services.
“This was a complex transaction for many reasons,” said Tingus. “Our buyer needed a large facility and a location that would allow it to retain its current employees, and we worked closely with city of Ventura and county officials so that they understood Solarsilicon’
For Tingus, the transaction also holds special significance because SRS founder and CEO, Robert M. Bushman, was his very first client when he began in the commercial real estate business more than 20 years ago. At the time, Bushman was co-owner of a scrap metal company. He got the idea for SRS when he noticed one of his customers was simply throwing away silicon, and he began experimenting with processes to clean and re-use it.
“I’ve watched this business grow from a thought in a scrap metal yard,” Tingus said, “and to see Rob where he is today – the CEO of a company that is at the forefront of a new industry, creating jobs and helping to build this new economy – that’s what the American dream is made of.”
Bushman founded SRS in 1996 and built it to 50 employees by 2006 when he sold it to Ersol, later acquired by global technology conglomerate Bosch. In March, 2010 Bushman, along with SRS President Eric M. Baldwin, bought the company back.
“Our business is heavily influenced by the price of polysilicon on the commodities market, and it requires an entrepreneurial approach,” Bushman said. “We saw that under its former ownership the company was not able to adapt to market fluctuations as quickly as needed, and we were concerned about the future for the business and our employees, so we bought it back.”
Since March the company has grown from 43 employees to 70 workers and SRS has been operating its 20,000-square-
“We ran out of room. We ran out of power and we ran out of parking,” Bushman said. “This facility gives us the ability to upgrade our processes and sell into a much larger market.”
SRS also needed a larger facility to continue work it has begun on the development of a second, innovative process for cleaning silicon that will be unique to the industry and is expected to revolutionize the silicon manufacturing process. The Ventura facility will be an incubator for this new process, and, once operational, it will become a flagship for the company’s expansion throughout the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and even Europe, allowing SRS to invite national and international customers to view its manufacturing, green energy and environmentally responsible disposal processes first-hand and positioning the company as a world leader in its industry.
Short term, SRS will hire an additional 20-30 new workers with the move, and it is investing approximately $3 million to $5 million in new equipment that will enable the company to clean silicon to semiconductor standards and open up a new channel of distribution for its products.
“We’ll outpace the growth in the solar industry because there is such a significant void that can be filled in these new channels,” said Baldwin. “We’ll be on the cutting edge of capability, and that will drive a lot of volume for us.”
Because the company is growing so rapidly, SRS will run both its new facility and its Camarillo plant until the end of the year when the Ventura operation is expected to be fully functional.
SRS will utilize about two-thirds of the space in the new building, and Art Dreams, which originally built the building in 1998, will lease back the remaining portion including
warehouse space and a design center it continues to use for its product development.
The free-standing building includes more than 13,000 square feet of office space on two stories and features 24’ clear height, three dock high and two ground level doors.
SRS is one of five companies that were negotiating for the property.
“We also had a few national companies that looked at the building,” said Michael Walsh. “We’ve seen considerably more activity in the market over the last nine months, and this property drew a lot of attention because of its corporate headquarters image, its features and because it is one of the few large facilities out there.”
Ironically, those SRS customers that were located in California have left and its future business base is located outside the state as well.
“We deal with most of the major solar manufacturers and polysilicon manufacturers and we have zero customers in California,”
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