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Canadian manufacturer moving into Starbuck facility

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WATERTOWN — A Canadian company that completes vehicle seat assembly and manufactures panels for trains soon will relocate from Ogdensburg into the Watertown Center for Business and Industry on Starbuck Avenue.

On Tuesday morning, the WIC Board approved a one-year lease with Tulmar Manufacturing Inc. to occupy 7,000 square feet of space in Building C of the industrial center. New York Air Brake is using the space for storage.

Tulmar, a 22-year-old Canadian firm with a U.S. subsidiary since 2004, employs three workers but intends to expand that number to about 10 over the next three years.

According to the lease, the company has a two-year option for the space after the initial year. WIC board member Nickolas W. Darling said the light manufacturing company is a good addition for the small business incubator, which offers low-cost rent to its tenants with the idea that they will grow and then move out on their own.

“It’s like having a pocket full of aces,” he said before voting for the lease. “It’s a no-brainer for me.”

The new tenant comes at a good time for the financially-strapped WIC. It’s the sixth company that has moved into the Starbuck facility in recent months.

William J. Soluri, the industrial center’s site manager, said Tulmar eventually will pay $2,629.92 a month for the space, not including utilities.

The company needs to move from its current location to cut down on higher operating costs, WIC officials said. Much of Tulmar’s business comes from U.S. military contracts.

According to the lease, the company initially will pay a full base rent of $3.15 per square foot for half of the 7,000 square feet and $2 per square foot for the other half. If the company remains for the optional years, the lower figure would increase to $2.50 per square foot for the second year and $3.28 in the third year for half the space. After that, it would pay full-market base rent, Mr. Soluri said.

In 2009, Tulmar became the first tenant in the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s commerce park when it signed a three-year lease.

Mr. Soluri said Tulmar’s new home is the same space that Current Applications Inc. occupied in the Starbuck facility when it first began many years ago with a handful of employees. Current Applications Inc., which designs and makes prototype motors, now has about 50.

The industrial center has 21 tenants with a total workforce of 172 employees. The WIC recently started preparation work on a $475,000 project to expand administrative offices for the Jefferson County Local Development Corp. at the center. That project is slated to be completed next fall.

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