Schweitzer Inc. invests in downtown Battle Creek with renovation of historic building

Previously vacant building will become new corporate headquarters

Battle Creek commercial construction company, Schweitzer Incorporated, has recently begun extensive renovations to the facility previously owned and occupied by Norman Foods, located at 86 South Division Street. The building was originally constructed in 1922 for the Taylor Produce Company. Schweitzer Inc. purchased the 90,000 sf building in the fall of 2015, and it will become their corporate headquarters.

Rendering of exterior renovation plan for Schweitzer Inc.’s new headquarters at 86 S. Division Street in Battle Creek.

Rendering of exterior renovation plan for Schweitzer Inc.’s new headquarters at 86 S. Division Street in Battle Creek.

Schweitzer’s current plans are to occupy the first floor of the four-story structure as their corporate office and the attached warehouse for their various trade divisions. The second, third and fourth floors will be reserved for future office-space tenants. This move will more than double their storage space and triple their office space.

“The City of Battle Creek and many of its local businesses and institutions have been very loyal to Schweitzer Construction since it was founded by John J. Schweitzer 55 years ago,” said Tom Beuchler, Schweitzer President and CEO.

The company is now in its third generation of ownership. Andrew (Drew) Schweitzer and Beuchler began looking at various downtown properties over three years ago, having outgrown their current office and wanting to support the city’s revitalization mission.

Before photo shows Schweitzer's "Future Home" sign

Before photo shows Schweitzer’s “Future Home” sign

“We have been involved with many downtown improvement projects in recent years and are glad to be adding to the momentum through the rehabilitation of this facility,” Beuchler added.

Beuchler acknowledged the City of Battle Creek for their help in the transition.

“The City of Battle Creek toured the building early on and helped us navigate through some of the challenges of acquiring an old vacant property. This included code compliance reviews, assisting with certain tax credits that were available, historic classifications, vacating a dead-end roadway as well as purchasing additional property from MDOT for an added parking lot.”

“The City of Battle Creek is honored to welcome Schweitzer Construction to downtown Battle Creek,” said Rebecca Fleury, Battle Creek City Manager. “Their commitment to Battle Creek can be seen in the many projects they have successfully completed in our community. So many people and places they have touched only makes it more special to have them locate in the heart of our central business district, bringing new life to an old building.”

Vice President and COO Drew Schweitzer visited the Norman property in 2015 and could visualize its potential.

“We are pleased that we are able to bring this vacant and deteriorating building back to life and restore a part of Battle Creek’s history,” Schweitzer said.

Schweitzer collaborated with numerous consultants to develop the vision, preservation, space planning and design for the renovation of the original 1922 building. The plans include preserving the building’s original character, including exposed brick walls and wood beams.

Schweitzer added, “We are proud to make this commitment to the community we’ve been serving for 55 years. Battle Creek is our home, and our team is looking forward to moving downtown into this historic space.”

The company plans to have their steel division and portions of our paint division continue to work at their current facility in Pennfield Township.

Schweitzer Incorporated employs up to 85 field personnel who specialize in carpentry, general trades, steel fabrication and erection, millwright services, painting/blasting and industrial coatings, as well as general labor/support services. They also employ 14 full-time staff members in project management, pre-construction, safety, administrative, and clerical roles.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the office renovation and site improvement phase is anticipated for mid-June. Schweitzer indicates that the company hopes to move into their corporate offices in August but acknowledges that “our project will take a back seat to those of our loyal customers.”