2017 Best Industrial Project: J. Knipper & Co. Inc.

When Crossdock Development bought its first land at River Ridge Commerce Center in 2007, managing member Lee Wilburn probably didn’t realize he’d become something of an expert on building warehouses for the highly regulated pharmaceuticals market.

By Cary Stemle – Business First contributor

Apr 28, 2017

J. Knipper & Co. Inc.
Address: 1250 Patrol Road, Charlestown, Ind.
Cost:$25 million
Size: 314,300 square feet, expandable to 413,770, on 26.62 acres
Owner and developer: Crossdock Development
Architect: Kovert Hawkins Architects
Civil engineer: Accurus Engineering

But that seems to be a trend: Crossdock’s recent work for New Jersey-based J. Knipper and Co. was its third such project.

Knipper wanted to consolidate three existing facilities into one, Wilburn said, and needed a central location so its pharmaceutical clients could service both coasts during timely product launches.

During a multistate search, Knipper representatives initially talked to Wilburn about existing space but realized they needed more room.

So he proposed a build-to-suit project and flew his team to tour Knipper’s New Jersey facilities and to discuss details. “We all got along famously,” he said, and within 14 months, Knipper had moved in at River Ridge.

Special touches include extensive coolers and freezers, redundant security systems and a novel and complex backup generator system. It’s a “can’t-go-down facility,” Wilburn said.

Knipper’s client roster of more than 80 pharmaceutical companies includes some of the world’s largest, and Wilburn was fascinated by the vetting process.

“Pharmaceutical buildings are very highly regulated by the government and by the clients who put their inventory into them,” he said. “This building has been inspected so many ways you can’t believe it. These projects are far more complicated. I can’t go into detail about the security, but this may be the most advanced pharmaceutical building in the region.”

With three pharma projects under its belt, Wilburn said Crossdock is drawing interest from other markets.

“It is wildly different, and it appears that we are on the bleeding edge,” he said. “But really, we’re in the economic development business. This was simply another complicated project where we found great tenants and brought it all together.”

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