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Posted on Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 3:13 p.m.

Masco Cabinetry moving corporate HQ, 350 jobs to ex-Flint Ink building in Ann Arbor Township

By Nathan Bomey

flint ink 1.jpg

The former Flint Ink building at Dixboro Road at Arrowhead in Ann Arbor Township this morning.

This story has been updated.

Consumer product manufacturer Masco Corp. is close to announcing that it will consolidate at least 350 workers into a new research-and-development operation at the former Flint Ink facility in Ann Arbor Township, has learned.

Masco plans to transfer 350 workers from facilities in Middlefield, Ohio and Adrian, Mich. to the long-dormant Flint Ink building. The company also plans to add another 100 jobs at the site over the next five years, according to a tax abatement application filed with the township.

The site will serve as the corporate headquarters for Masco Cabinetry Co., a new consolidated division of the $7.79 billion Taylor-based corporate giant's Retail Cabinet Group and Builder Cabinet Group.

Masco Corp.

Headquarters: Taylor, Mich.

Company profile: Five divisions manufacture, distribute and install home improvement products.

Brands include: Delta and Peerless plumbing products, Behr Paint, Merillat and Kraftmaid cabinets

Ticker: MAS on the New York Stock Exchange

Market cap: $5.43 billion

2009 sales: $7.8 billion, down from $9.5 billion in 2008

Full time employees: 35,000

Masco has filed a $7.75 million tax abatement application with Ann Arbor Township to locate its operation in the empty 150,000-square-foot building, located on Arrowhead Drive off Dixboro Road southwest of Plymouth Road.

“Existing multi-use office and research & development facility, after extensive remodeling, will be used by the applicant as a consolidated corporate headquarters and product research & development innovation center,” according to the firm’s tax abatement application.

Masco announced in February that it would consolidate at least 327 employees into one facility.

Lawrence Leaman, a vice president of Masco Cabinetry Co., whose name was listed on the firm’s tax abatement application, declined to offer details about the firm’s plans.

“What’s been publicly disclosed at this time is that we’re essentially reviewing possible sites in the state of Michigan and the state of Ohio,” he said this morning. “We’re still formulating the entire decision-making process.”

Ann Arbor Township Supervisor Michael Moran declined to comment.

The Flint Ink building has been listed for $12 million with CB Richard Ellis, based in Southfield. It was built in 1986 on 27 acres as a corporate headquarters. The facility has about 66,000 square feet dedicated to research space, with nearly 85,000 square feet in a three-story office wing and room for expansion.

According to marketing materials, the lab could be converted to office use. The building also has a cafeteria, fitness center, executive parking garage, auditorium and shipping/receiving docks.

Masco Cabinetry plans to spend $4 million on land and building improvements. That includes $2 million to add 40,000 square feet of office space, $1.4 million to remodel offices and an R&D laboratory, and $300,000 to demolish a lab.

The firm also plans to house $3.75 million in equipment and office fixtures, including $2.5 million for research equipment, $1 million in computers and servers and $250,000 in office equipment.

Masco's sales fell along with home sales during the economic downturn, but company officials took several steps to maintain viability:

• It closed 17 manufacturing facilities from 2006-2008. • It cut employment by 23,000, or 40 percent of the North American workforce, during the same timeframe. • It reduced its dividend by about 2/3.

As a result, the company ended 2008 with over $1 billion in cash, according to the annual report. And that grew to $1.4 billion by the end of 2009.

One of the facilities closed by the company was a Merillat factory in Adrian, said Jim Gartin, president and CEO of the Lenawee Economic Development Corp.

"It was pretty clear at that point that the headquarters was next," Gartin said.

Relocation options included sites in Southeast Michigan and Ohio, Gartin said, and he said he and his staff expressed hope that the 200 employees in Adrian, located southwest of Ann Arbor in Lenawee County, would be able to commute to the new facility.

"We were very supportive of the Ann Arbor location because we felt many more employees would be (able to stay in Michigan)," Gartin said.

Customer service functions will remain in Adrian, Gartin said. That's estimated at about 50 jobs.

Despite the loss for Adrian, Gartin expects to work with Masco officials on finding a new user for the offices it vacates in the community.

"We've worked with Masco real estate people on the manufacturing facility to repurpose it and I'm sure as they make the transition with the corporate headquarters, we'll do the same thing," Gartin said.

Macso’s 2009 annual report gives some indication that the new R&D facility in Ann Arbor Township office may be focused on the cabinet division’s development of “green” building products. It also shows the key position of product development in the company today.

"We are very encouraged by our 2009 financial and operating performance in one of the more difficult economic environments Masco has ever experienced. Although our sales were down 18 percent, compared to 2008, we were able to offset a significant portion of our volume declines, primarily as a result of innovative new product introductions and market share gains," said Masco's CEO Tim Wadhams in a news release accompanying details on performance.

The previous year’s report specifically cited product R&D as a way to grow market share on existing brands.

“Masco is leading the way in helping builders construct homes that offer energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, water quality and durability benefits,” according to the report.

Meanwhile, the brands in the two cabinet divisions that will be combined into the Masco Cabinetry division also play a key role in the company’s future.

“We believe that our strong financial position, together with our current strategy of investing in leadership brands (including: KraftMaid and Merillat cabinets, Delta and Hansgrohe faucets, Behr paint and Milgard windows), our continued focus on innovation and our commitment to lean principles will allow us to drive long-term growth,” according to the report.

Ann Arbor business leaders welcomed the news that the area could soon be home to a new headquarters. The number of employees, the expected pay scale and the R&D functions all are cited as positive aspects of the proposal.

"The economic impact will create an upward spiral of positive influence from a company like that," said Diane Keller, president of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Masco corporate leadership connections to Ann Arbor include Wadhams and Sharon Rothwell, vice president for corporate affairs, both of whom live in the Ann Arbor area.

Executive chairman and former CEO Richard Manoogian has a personal net worth of over $1 billion, according to Forbes. He's also a leading philanthropist in southeast Michigan with ties to the Detroit Institute of Arts and The Henry Ford. The Manoogian family has funded endowments that helped establish the Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan.

Business News Director Paula Gardner contributed to this story. Contact’s Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or or follow him on Twitter. You can also subscribe to Business Review's weekly e-newsletter or the upcoming breaking business news e-newsletter.



Sat, Mar 13, 2010 : 10:01 a.m.

"Close to announcing", let's hope this happens. Without question would be a huge benefit for the A2 area and a huge loss for the folks in Ohio but life is not fair for all. Regarding people throwing around the tired old broken record "corporate welfare" garbage, give us a break. For high tax areas to compete for new business, they HAVE TO give tax breaks to bring in new business. That is the way it works all over the USA and giving tax breaks brings new jobs, not all the savings goes to the fat cats at the top as some propose here. Good job for once to A2.

The Grinch

Sat, Mar 13, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

As the Pfizer example makes clear, this is simple prostitution with the company being the prostitute, the taxpayers being the John who pays for services rendered, and the politicians doing the pimping. The only difference here is that it is the John who get screwed, not the prostitute. Don't know what corporate welfare is? Let me 'splain it to you. These companies don't need the tax abatements to make a go of it. They need the tax abatements for larger profits. The profits don't go to hire the workers--the company was going to hire workers anyway. The profits go to company's owners. Tax money that other companies pay, in this case, goes into the pockets of someone who doesn't need anymore money. Funny how the VERY same people who carp and complain about teachers being paid too much see no problem with tax dollars being stuffed into the pockets of the rich.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Mar 13, 2010 : 12:12 a.m.

I'm not certain what corporate welfare is. Money going to the state from a corporation receiving a tax break greatly exceeds money going to the state from a corporation located in another state. The word "welfare" implies we are somehow paying this company to locate here and getting nothing in return. That couldn't be further from the truth. We're simply taking less in taxes from their owners. And in return, local citizens are receiving jobs. Maybe if our state had a simpler and fairer tax code, we wouldn't need to use tax breaks to attract business.


Sat, Mar 13, 2010 : 12:04 a.m.

"Corporate welfare"...preferable to unemployment?

The Man

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 7:34 p.m.

Thats nice that you are excited to see us kraftmaid employees packing our bags for the trip north, but thats the thing, we don't want to move. We have homes and families right here in Ohio. We also live in an economically depressed area, has been that way for over 10 years. Now our jobs are moving, that is just great for our local ecomony. How are we going to sell our homes? And your cost of living is more than ours. I don't see pay raises in our future. The article says 350 workers, but that is if we all get asked to relocate and if we get asked, if we say yes. Don't be supprised how many will say no.

The Grinch

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 6:31 p.m.

Tax abatements are nothing more than corporate welfare and do nothing to insure that businesses will stay in town, as the Pfizer example should make clear. Contrary to the common (so-called) wisdom of the tea baggers, Pfizer received substantial tax breaks from the city and the state: A company that won't move to a location but for a tax abatement will leave that location the minute it receives a better deal elsewhere.


Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 3 p.m.

Epengar, as with most other manufacturing jobs Masco has "shifted" jobs to Mexico due to the North America "free" trade agreement. Glad too see they have done well for their wall street masters on the backs of 27,000 lost US jobs....the race to the bottom continues!!

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

At least there's economic life outside of Ann Arbor. No way they're going to risk moving inside the city limits, the way City Hall talks about taxes. The mayor should stop talking income tax and start talking about what the city needs to do to encourage a business base that has, for the last 30 years, repeatedly been burned. It's to the point where a population that includes nearly 100,000 people connected with one of the finest universities in the world is surrounded by a city on the brink of bankruptcy. Ann Arbor City Hall is to city management as Rich Rodriguez and John Beilein are to college coaching.


Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 2:35 p.m.

This story indicates the business may come to town, not that it will. Let us hope the township grants the tax abatement...the jobs are needed, and the lower taxes are an important and perhaps crucial incentive for the company.


Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 2:27 p.m.

^uawisok, the story says they cut 40% of their *North American* workforce. NAFTA only applies to North America, so how can you blame NAFTA for this? They didn't send the jobs to Mexico or Canada. If they didn't just cut the payroll entirely, they shifted the jobs outside North America.


Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 1:41 p.m.

" It closed 17 manufacturing facilities from 2006-2008. It cut employment by 23,000, or 40 percent of the North American workforce, during the same timeframe." Thank You NAFTA!!!


Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

Happy to see new jobs added to the Ann Arbor area!

David Rhoads

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 12:14 p.m.

MASCO Cabinetry will be a great addition to the Ann Arbor area. I have used many of their products in my remodeling company, Homeowner Services of America (HSA), over my 25 years in business and have always found them to provide good value. Welcome MASCO.


Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : noon

Too bad the closing of Merillat original plant in Adrian and it's corporate offices also in Adrian, Founder Orville Merillat is probably rolling in his grave. His heirs couldn't wait to sell out to Masco and cash in on all the Orville and Ruth's hard work....well I guess some of the folks who are left will have to commute from Adrian.

Theresa Taylor

Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.



Fri, Mar 12, 2010 : 10:40 a.m.

Glad to see this addition to the local economy.