PRESCOTT VALLEY - Brad Newman, the founder and executive director of Yavapai Exceptional Industries, had great plans for remodeling YEI!'s Antelope Point Industries building at 2727 N. Lake Valley Road here.
YEI! planned to make the 6,200-square-foot metal building more energy efficient by installing a 6,800-watt solar energy system on the roof, Newman said in late December 2009.
"We were ready to go with this majestic remodeling," he recalled Thursday. However, costs prompted YEI! to abandon plans on the site about a year ago, and focus instead on a 9,300-square-foot masonry building under construction at 8490 E. Eastridge Drive in the Eastridge business park here. Construction started three weeks ago at Antelope Point at Eastridge, and it is due to open between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The timing is great for YEI! so it can continue with its production partners through the busy holiday season and year-end deadlines, a news release stated. YEI! provides training and employment opportunities and group housing for developmentally disabled adults in the quad-city area.
The acquisition of the new site was made possible through the efforts of Mike Fann, president of the board of Prescott Charities Inc. and co-owner of Fann Contracting. Prescott Charities bought the building, and put the existing one up for sale.
Fann redirected his efforts to determine the ability for YEI! to buy a larger building that would be better suited to Prescott Valley's infrastructure.
Fann put Newman in touch with Steve Rutherford, president of Prescott Valley Commercial Development Group, which in turn came up with a site for Prescott Charities to benefit YEI!
Rutherford and his business partner, certified public accountant Scott Helfinstine, made the property available to YEI! "within our limited means," Newman said.
Newman was on site Thursday morning as a construction crew continued work on the building.
The project is "pretty straightforward," said Gareth Rhys-Evans, project superintendent with B's Contractors in Prescott. "There is nothing complicated about it."
The new building will have a production area, classrooms, showers, a washer and dryer, a conference room, lunchroom and four bathrooms.
It will use high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment, Rhys-Evans said, adding he hired local subcontractors.
The new building will improve the workplace, capacity and visibility, Newman said.
He said YEI! financed the building through donations and proceeds from the sale of the Spice and Slice seasoning kits and other products that YEI! clients make. The Prescott Valley Community Development Department valued the building at $370,040.
YEI! started with 15 clients and five staffers at Antelope Point in May 1998, and currently houses 62 clients and nine staffers there, the news release stated. YEI! uses the Antelope Industries site for assembling and packaging for its business clients and for Spice and Slice.
Referring to the new building, Newman said, "We are not going to have a mortgage to burn because it is paid for."
Follow reporter Ken Hedler on Twitter @KenHedlines.