By David Benda, Redding Record Searchlight, September 2015
Dan Morrow moved his company Op-Test in 2013 because it had outgrown its facility.
Now he’s moving again.
Morrow, who founded the tech firm about 15 years ago, has purchased the former KMS building in the Mountain Lakes Industrial Park.
“We have been in a growth mode for several years now,” Morrow said. “We are out of space again so we have been looking for a new facility for some time.”
Morrow has already moved his corporate offices to the 106,210-square-foot building in north Redding. The entire operation will relocate there by next summer.
Morrow said he purchased the building from Christina Holden, who operated a water-bottling operation out of the facility. Holden bought the building about two years ago from a group of local investors, who had purchased it from the bank. Morrow did not say what he paid.
KMS opened the building in 1989 after investing $5 million to get it built in Mountain Lakes Industrial Park. The building was listed for $2.3 million before it went to foreclosure.
In early 2010, when the city was giving it a serious look as a potential police station site, its asking price was $8.7 million.
The building also currently houses the family-owned Moseley Family Cellars, which moved its winery and tasting room to the facility last year.
Both the winery and water-bottling plant will stay in the building. Morrow said Holden no longer owns the bottling plant.
Morrow says he will re-christen the former shampoo and hair-products research and manufacturing plant as “The Commons.”
“We looked at the situation and we have opted to co-locate with people who are builders like us,” Morrow said. “We all make different things but at the end of the day, we are all makers.”
Op-Test has 15 employees at its current plant on Redwood Boulevard. The company makes products used in the semiconductor industry and tests LED lights.
“We have always serviced the global market and now we are expanding into developing” the local market, Morrow said. “The new marketplace will be very collaborative oriented.”
Op-Test will take up the area near the front entrance on the first floor.
“It’s a huge building,” Morrow said. “Clearly more space than we need.”
Morrow hopes to take up about 70,000 square feet, 10 times the space it currently occupies on Redwood Boulevard.
Mimi Moseley of Moseley Family Cellars said she is excited about the new ownership.
“We already knew Dan and we knew what an amazing business man he is and when we found out he was buying the building, we just about jumped for joy,” Moseley said.
Moseley said one of the first things Morrow did after buying the building was re-stripe the parking lot.
“That was a cost we could have incurred but it was the owner who made the improvement because they saw right away it needed to be made,” Moseley said. “They also started fixing things that had gone, not unnoticed, but had not been a priority.”
Moseley said Morrow has cleaned up the landscaping, too.