by Lauren DiTullio, Eagle-Tribune
METHUEN — The city’s ongoing efforts to draw businesses into several large, vacant buildings are finally beginning to pay off as a longtime Haverhill business prepares to move to Methuen.
New England Die Cutting, Inc., a family-owned business that manufactures seals, gaskets and similar kinds of equipment, will take over the former Internal Revenue Service building on Milk Street. The 102,000-square-foot building has been vacant for about two years.
It represents a big expansion from the company’s current 20,000-square-foot space in Haverhill, New England Die Cutting president and owner Kimberly Abare said. She and her husband, David Abare, bought the business from David’s father in 1999. Their sons, David and Garrett, also work there.
Abare said their products are used in missiles, radar and aerospace technology to help eliminate electronic interference. Their major buyers include Raytheon, BAE Systems and other companies that design products for military use.
Abare said the company, which employs about 35 people, has rapidly outgrown its space in recent years.
“We had a big meeting about five months about where to park our fork lift. There was no more room,” Abare said. That was when they realized they had to move.
She said she and her husband, who co-owns the business, looked at properties in New Hampshire as well, but are working with the commonwealth on an economic development tax incentive in Methuen.
She said they plan to subdivide the building so that 35,000 square feet are available for rent, though the business may eventually take it over.
“The business is growing substantially so I would think that probably 15 years from now we’d be ready to move into that space,” she said.
Abare also estimated that the company will be able to add about 15 employees over the next five years thanks to the expansion.
Mayor Stephen Zanni said two more buyers are interested vacant, or soon-to-be-vacant, sites. The General Mills Yoplait yogurt plant on Pelham Street will stop operating in August, and Zanni said a buyer is poised to take the building over in September. He said a deal is also near completion on Griffin Brook Park Drive, a side street with mostly industrial buildings off of Route 110.
He is not prepared to release more details at this time, he said.