ForeverLawn will convert a vacant barn in Marlboro Township into a corporate headquarters.
MARLBORO TWP. An empty white barn in the 8000 block of Beeson Street NE will transform into a corporate headquarters within in the next few months.
It may seem like an unlikely setting but the operator of ForeverLawn, Brian Karmie, plans to convert the barn into an office complex for his synthetic turf company.
"I think it will work really well for our build-out office," Karmie said. "It was basically a giant garage. It will be about 6,000- or 7,000-square-feet of office space. The rest will be for storing materials. Most of what we do out of this office will be sales and support; mostly office work. It is not really a corporate location for most people. It is a little less expensive in Marlboro."
Currently, ForeverLawn maintains its corporate office in a leased building in the 5800 block of Mayfair Road in Green.
Assigning a new purpose for what has been a storage barn will involve renovation.
"There is no interior to it right now, there are no interior walls," said Joe Caplea of Caplea Studio Architects, which designed the project. "The floor is dirt. The reason they like it is they are going to put in some underground plumbing work. They won't have to break up a floor. This way they alleviate all the concrete work. There will be probably between 20 and 30 offices in there."
Plans call for constructing a 350-square-foot vestibule to serve as an entrance. There also will be a sports court.
"We are going to put in a bocce court for our employees," Karmie said. "It is about 25 or so workers in that office that will be moving out to Marlboro. Our lease is up at the end of February. We will probably be in temporary offices. Probably in the beginning of June we will be moving into our new building. The construction (renovation) hasn't started yet. It should start within the next month."
ForeverLawn does not manufacture synthetic grass. The product is manufactured in plants in Georgia, Karmie said. ForeverLawn sells the synthetic turf and has it installed.
"Them bringing their corporate office to Marlboro Township is a good thing," township Trustee Wayne Schillig said. "It will help improve the tax base. All the tax rate won't fall on the residential property owners."
While the future site for ForeverLawn might seem far-removed from the conventional corporate environment, the area is a destination. That is because just to the east of the barn building on land that Karmie also owns is the Whetstone Conference and Event Center complex.
"We rent that out for weddings, conferences and business meetings," Karmie said. "We own about 60 acres of land in that area."
The land at one time was part of Park Farms holdings. But when Case Farms acquired Park Farms in 2012, the land eventually fell into the hands of different owners. The land was no longer being used for agriculture. Without agricultural use, zoning became a concern as far as the business operations. The land had to be rezoned for B-2, commercial business district.
"When it changed hands, then it became an issue to use it in that manner," township Trustee John Hagan said. "It becomes an issue when it is no longer agriculture."
Reach Malcolm at 330-580-8305
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