When it opened last fall, much of the marvel about Uponor North America's new manufacturing plant for cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipe focused on how the 237,000-square-foot facility came on line with 40 new jobs six months ahead of schedule.
The ogling continues.
Now the company's renovated plant in Hutchinson, Minn., has been recognized for its design and build-out. Uponor received an award from the Minnesota Real Estate Journal in the industrial, manufacturing and science category. More than 225 projects had been nominated across the state in five commercial categories.
For its project, Uponor invested $6.5 million into buying and updating a 34-acre site that had housed a manufacturer of suspension assemblies for computer disk drives until it closed after a 2015 acquisition.
About that time, the extruder of PEX products for plumbing, fire sprinklers and radiant heating and cooling systems found itself landlocked at its headquarters site in Apple Valley, Minn. After 10 expansions there since 1990, Uponor looked beyond Apple Valley and set up shop 70 miles away in Hutchinson with design help from Tekton Engineers.
"The project focused on the expansion of manufacturing space in the existing building. The scope included installation of manufacturing equipment, increasing infrastructure and the certification of [a National Science Foundation] quality lab," the journal noted about what stood out to their judges.
Uponor made it easy, according to Jeremy Baer, Tekton principle.
"Their process of creating a vision, developing the project, organizing the team, and executing the project all but ensures that their projects are worthy of emulation and adulation by the industrial community," Baer said in a news release about the award.
In January, the facility also was chosen as the Project of the Year by the Economic Development Association of Minnesota, which includes public, private and nonprofit professionals who specialize in economic development.
PEX production began in Hutchinson on May 20, 2018. Filling a big empty space after it had been vacant for three years was a big win for the city and state, according to economic development officials.