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Middleport businessman buys Medina manufacturing facility

A Middleport businessman has acquired a vacant industrial complex in the Orleans County Village of Medina, with plans to redevelop the facility and lease it to new manufacturing or commercial tenants.

Kyle Brent, through B360 Holdings, purchased the 33.85-acre Bernzomatic plant at 1 Bernzomatic Drive from a subsidiary of Newell Brands, the maker of Rubbermaid products.

Already zoned for industrial use and located along Bates Road near the Medina Business Park, the property includes a 160,000-square-foot building, with ceiling heights of 14 feet to 22 feet, plus two grade-level doors, 12 truck doors and rail access.

The site has been used for industrial purposes since 1915, and was run as a cannery and food-processing center until its purchase in 1969 by Birds-Eye. Bernzomatic, a division of the former Newell-Rubbermaid, later bought the facility to make and sell hand-held torches used for soldering, welding and brazing. In 2011, Newell sold Bernzomatic to Ohio-based Worthington Industries, which cut 174 jobs and shifted the work to Wisconsin. The plant has been empty since then, but has gone through the state's Brownfield Cleanup Program.

“The former Bernzomatic facility was designed and built to accommodate manufacturing," said Jim Whipple, CEO of theOrleans County Economic Development Agency. "There are very few buildings around anymore with high ceilings, multiple truck docks, rail access and expansion potential like this complex. And Kyle Brent knows exactly how to turn this property into a prime development site.”

That would be good news for Medina. "The village is committed to working with Kyle to implement his vision for the property," said village Mayor Michael Sidari. "We want to do everything we can to work with him to bring more opportunities and jobs here.”

Brent said he plans to rehab, upgrade and modernize the complex and lease out 130,000 square feet, saying it will be able to handle "a fully functioning manufacturing operation and warehouse," with enough additional "flex" space left for "separate offices or a call center."

“The last two years of this acquisition have been a marathon. Now it’s time to tackle modernizing Bernz," said Brent, whose Brent Industries owns KJ Motorsports and Outdoor Furnace Supply on Mountain Road in Middleport. "This next phase is something I’ve really been looking forward to.”

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