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Sources: Oshkosh's JLG division taking 400,000-square-foot facility at Clinton Commerce Center

By Tim Schooley, Pittsburgh Business Times One of the biggest new industrial buildings in the airport area, whose tenant has long been kept under wraps, is to be occupied by a major lift and equipment manufacturer owned by a publicly traded company.

JLG, based in central Pennsylvania but owned by Oshkosh Corp. (NYSE: OSK), which is based in its namesake Wisconsin city, is the mystery tenant for Al. Neyer's new 400,000-square-foot industrial building at Clinton Commerce Center in Findlay, sources familiar with the deal said.

It's a tenant that for more than a year has only been identified under the name "Project Penguin" to the region's commercial real estate community for what is likely one of the region's biggest industrial real estate deals of the year.

An executive for Cincinnati-based Al. Neyer, the developer of Clinton Commerce Center, declined to comment. Inquiries to Oshkosh were not returned.

The building is a distribution center. JLG's website features the company's selection of boom lifts, scissor lifts, tele-handers and stock pickers, all the kind of increasingly essential tools used in warehousing and logistics, including the burgeoning expansion of e-commerce.

It's a 52-year-old company founded in and still largely based in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, in Fulton County, not far from Altoona, that grew into being part of a significant publicly traded company.

What was then called Oshkosh Trucking bought JLG in 2006, according to press reports at the time, in a deal valued at $3.2 billion, one among others that led to Oshkosh diversifying beyond trucking to a range of fields and industries with plenty of overlap with Pittsburgh's new industries: AI, autonomous vehicles and other advanced technologies.

It's a company whose roots go back more than 100 years, operating in the trucking and farm equipment industries, but now expanding into a broader range of safety equipment, autonomous vehicles and other industry niches.

Oshkosh employs more than 15,000 people and last year reached more than $6.5 billion in annual sales.

Landing such a major company for such a big building further demonstrates Al. Neyer's ongoing development success in the airport area and elsewhere in the region.

The development firm has continued to build and lease up major buildings at Clinton Commerce on land owned by the Airport Authority of Allegheny County.

The deal with JLG follows other major tenant draws to Clinton Commerce, including a lease for more than 200,000 square feet to a Boston-based company called Haemonetics Corp.; a Swedish firm called Nord-Lock Group, which took 125,000 square feet; as well as a 266,000-square-foot facility recently used by Royal Dutch Shell.

Rick O'Brien, an executive vice president and national director who specializes in industrial leasing in the Pittsburgh office of JLL, noted how big industrial deals in the region are getting much bigger than in the past.

"In the past, there were not buildings or sites that were capable of accommodating users in excess of 100,000 square feet," he said. "100,000 square feet is still a good-sized deal in the Pittsburgh market but that used to be a very big deal in the Pittsburgh market. Now you have these occupiers over 200,000 square feet."


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