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Posted on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Long-vacant NSK Corp. factory in Pittsfield Township to be redeveloped after sale

By Lizzy Alfs


The former NSK Corp. building at 5400 S. State St. has a new owner after an investment firm purchased the property in March.

Lizzy Alfs |

Redevelopment plans are in the works for a long-vacant, 263,000-square-foot manufacturing building on South State Street in Pittsfield Township after being sold in March.

Industrial Realty Group LLC, a privately-owned real estate development and investment firm, purchased NSK Corp.’s former ball bearing factory at 5400 S. State. St., for $2.2 million, township records show.

In conjunction with the sale, the owner of five automotive-related companies, including Ann Arbor-based Extang, signed a lease for 163,000 square feet and is planning to jointly redevelop the property with its new owner.

“I think it’s good that I can take an old, large building and rehab it and make it a great property. It’s nice to reinvest in the community where I live,” said William Reminder, CEO of THI, a holding company for truck accessories manufacturers Extang, TruXedo, UnderCover, Advantage and BedRug.

The factory at 5400 S. State St., was built in 1959, and NSK Corp. took over the property through its acquisition of Hoover Ball and Bearing in 1997. The factory produced automotive size bearings, such as fan clutch bearings, for automakers, industrial manufacturers and the automotive aftermarket.

In 2005, NSK announced it would begin a phased closure of the ball bearing factory, completely vacating the building by August 2007.


Renovations are underway at the 263,000-square-foot building to bring it up to code, modernize, clean it up and improve landscaping.

Lizzy Alfs |

The 34-acre Pittsfield Township property has a 2013 assessed value of $1,997,400. The building was listed for sale with Greg Hudas of Signature Associates and Signature’s Jay Chavey represented the new tenant.

Reminder — who has been acquiring truck accessory manufacturing companies during the last five years — plans to move his THI corporate entity, Extang, and Advantage Truck Accessories brands to the South State Street building. Extang’s current offices are located at 1901 E. Ellsworth, where the company manufactures pick up truck bed covers. Reminder recently relocated Advantage to Ann Arbor from Indiana, moving 65 employees with the company.

“(5400 S. State) is not a highly functioning building for most businesses,” Reminder said. “But that building has tremendous bones — it just needs a little TLC.”

The move will bring the two manufacturing companies under one roof, where about 300 employees will work. Reminder said he’s expecting the companies will continue to hire.

“We’re a manufacturer here that has been really successful,” he said. “Even during the recession, we were skyrocketing.”

Extang, a national leader in the sale of truck bed covers, introduced its first hard tonneau (truck bed cover) in 2007, and a second design in early 2009. The company reported strong sales activity despite the economic downturn. Reminder said space is limited at Extang’s current offices and there is insufficient parking for the number of employees.

“We’re packed-in here,” he said.

Renovations are underway at the former NSK Corp. building, which will include bringing it up to code, modernizing and cleaning, and improving the landscaping. Reminder said he hopes to move the companies in this fall.

“We’ll really make that property look beautiful on that road,” he said.

The remaining 100,000 square feet in the building will be listed for lease, and Reminder will manage the property, he said.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Ann English

Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

I knew Extang was growing, but didn't realize they now have a parking capacity limitation. I wish the same sort of future for EnovateIT in Canton; they're growing too, and had a more severe parking problem last fall than Extang did at the same time.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

Hopefully they won't put up anymore of the giant political signs that have littered their former building on Ellsworth. It was very unprofessional to see during last year's election season and I would think it would have turned off those of the other political party or those that supported other candidates. Companies that do that, and and communicate their preferences to their customers and employees, turn off many others and they remember it.


Sat, Jun 15, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

American Made Car here, no bumper stickers. I also don't make silly statements about other posters.

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 15, 2013 : 1:23 a.m.

A tonneau would look pretty odd on your sticker-encrusted Toyota.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

My father worked in that building for Hoover Ball Bearing when it first opened. He said that the work conditions were terrible. It would get sweltering hot in there and the workers would throw ball bearings through the windows to get some air movement. Hoover had moved there from Ann Arbor.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

wow thanks for the info, that's really interesting, i had no idea the U-M physical plant building used to be a ball bearing factory. the industrial history of ann arbor is hidden deeply indeed!


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

I remember the Christmas parties they would have at the Michigan or State theaters. Can't remember which.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

Hoover was on Hoover st just west of the RR tracks. in the 50's.My mother worked at the plant on Hoover st starting about 1954 and State st when the moved there.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 1:40 p.m.

That's good news. When I saw that a 260,000 square foot building was sold, I thought you were talking about 413 E Huron for a second...

Ann English

Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

It IS good news. I remember driving to Saline via State Road, noticing all the empty business buildings along the way. This one isn't empty any more.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Haters gotta hate - it's funny because it is true - 413 is as big as this factory, but downtown.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

Wonderful news. Good luck!


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 11:08 a.m.

Seems like its been vacant for 30 years.


Fri, Jun 14, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

More great news as this vibrant area continues to expand.