By The Banner Staff
The Duncan Banner
Wilco Machine and Fab has announced it has purchased the former Sooner Building from the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation for $1.5 million.
The deal was announced late Friday afternoon.
The 123,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, office and maintenance shop sits on about 15 acres between Duncan and Marlow on U.S. Highway 81. It includes manufacturing space Wilco has rented from DAEDF since December 2010.
DAEDF has used the building to start a business incubator and rent manufacturing space to several companies. There are eight tenants now. DAEDF will retain 13 acres and a building being occupied by Boots and Coots.
In May 2008, Haulmark/Universal Trailer Co. closed its Duncan facility and laid off 150 employees. The facility then became available for purchase and Wilco looked into buying it then.
“The size of this facility and number of employees we had in 2008 was not a good match for an expansion, it was a timing issue,” said Brad Boles, president of Wilco Manufacturing and Fab.
Today, Wilco employs 280 people but that figure has been as high as 475.
DAEDF President Lyle Roggow said the purchase is an exciting opportunity for Duncan, Marlow and all of Stephens County.
“Investing into the facility means potential job growth for our area and keeps the company from relocating a portion of their business elsewhere,” Roggow said.
The business incubator and eight tenants will remain at the facility for up to two years while plans are being finalized for a new facility next to the Red River Technology Center and Cameron University.