Company leases city warehouse

A Claremont warehouse has a new occupant, according to a statement released Monday from a private real estate company.

JER Partners announced that Sutter Street Manufacturing, a division of home-goods manufacturer Williams-Sonoma, will lease the entire warehouse on Kelly Boulevard in Claremont. The company's decision to come to Claremont, however, is a business move the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation and the city of Claremont have yet to confirm.

Nathan Huret, Catawba County EDC's existing industry coordinator, said the EDC also received JER Partners' press release Monday, but they haven't confirmed the move with Sutter Street Manufacturing.

Huret and Claremont City Manager Doug Barrick said a company has been interested in the facility in recent weeks, but they didn't know who.

"We know someone's been looking out there, but they've been so closed-lipped about it," Huret said.

Barrick said Monday afternoon that he was trying to confirm Sutter Street Manufacturing's move to the 411,706-square-foot facility at 2973 Kelly Boulevard, but he didn't know definitively.

The facility was built in two phases in 1999 and 2009 and has a complete racking system and 36-foot ceilings, according to JER Partners' press release.

Barrick told The O-N-E last week that a company was preparing the facility for use, but the city wasn't told the company name. The building is owned by Kelly Boulevard Associates LLC, a joint venture of JER Partners, of McLean Va., and Fulcra Enterprises in Cornelius.

The two companies purchased the facility in 2008 under bankruptcy proceedings, according to JER Partners' press release. Collezione Europa USA Inc. previously developed, owned and operated the property.

"Williams-Sonoma recognizes the superior quality of the Kelly Boulevard warehouse and the benefits of being located in Catawba County," said Jim Smith, managing director of U.S. funds at JER Partners. "We are extremely pleased to have attracted such a high-quality tenant during challenging economic times, and we believe this transaction reflects the strengthening of the local market."

JER Partners said the facility will be used for warehousing, manufacturing and distribution.

Claremont's proposed Sutter Street Manufacturing warehouse isn't the company's first in Catawba County. Gov. Mike Easley announced in April 2008 that Sutter Street Manufacturing was set to open a product development and regional distribution center in Hickory, which could bring 820 jobs to the area.

Williams-Sonoma is a nationwide speciality retailer of home products.

Its products are sold as Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBTeen, West Elm and Williams-Sonoma Home. Products are sold in more than 600 locations in almost every state in the United States.