Longtime manufacturing facility to become shipping supply store

Magnetic Windings, a longtime manufacturer that once employed hundreds of workers, sold its facility in Palmer Township for $3.4 million.

The former Magnetic Windings manufacturing facility in Palmer Township recently sold for $3.4 million. (Submitted) –

In preparation for its new use, the manufacturing company’s remaining employees are cleaning out the building as the new owner is planning to transform the site into a shipping supply store for consumers.

Amy Hawley, a broker with SVN Imperial Realty of South Whitehall Township, represented AMERCO Real Estate Co., the real estate division of U-Haul International, in its purchase of the property at 2711 Freemansburg Ave. near Easton. The sale includes the 87,000-square-foot industrial facility and the nearly five-acre tract of land where the facility sits.

The new owner is trying to repurpose the property as a retail supplies and moving store that would offer packing supplies for consumers, Hawley said.

The Magnetic Windings building included Records Management & Archiving, a separate business that stored records on site, but that business was sold, she added.

In addition, the building contains Easton Self-Storage, a separate business that will remain on site when U-Haul takes it over.

Essex Wire built the Freemansburg Avenue building in 1947, said Coleen J. Gordon, president of Magnetic Windings. Essex Wire leased the building to Magnetic Windings and then, in 1981, Albert Marron, owner, CEO and chairman of Magnetic Windings, bought the building from Essex Wire, she said.

Marron passed away earlier this year, which is why Magnetic Windings had to start liquidating the company, she said. The business officially closed in July.

Magnetic Windings, which manufactured power transformers, had been in business for 90 years, Gordon said.

Right now, the company only has six employees but at one time, employed as many as 400 people, she said.

The company used to make many transformers and inductors for the aerospace and defense industry. Over the years, it served such clients as Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse, BAE Systems, and Universal Audio at many different locations, she added.

“For us, it was kind of an expertise that we learned,” Gordon said. “It’s a sad way of saying goodbye to a good company. It’s a sad end to a hopeful beginning.”

With only a few employees left to finish cleaning out the site, Gordon said she plans to retire after working for the company for 46 years. Luckily, another employer, a former client, stepped in to make offers to the remaining employees.

“BAE Systems hired our employees right from here as soon as we were going to lay them off,” she said.

Based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, BAE Systems has a small facility in New Jersey, where it has employed some of the former Magnetic Windings employees.

In a statement, U-Haul spokesperson Andrea Batchelor said the company cannot provide specifics in terms of hiring at this point, since it is in the beginning stages of development.

The former Magnetic Windings building housed Easton Self-Storage so U-Haul will be continuing those operations and adding additional indoor climate-controlled self-storage units with high-tech security features at affordable price points, she said.

“There’s a need for self-storage in this area and we are eager to provide a state-of-the-art service to our neighbors,” Batchelor said. “U-Haul supports infill developments to help local communities lower its carbon footprint. The adaptive reuse of existing buildings reduces the amount of energy and resources required for new building materials and helps cities reduce their unwanted inventory of unused buildings.”

Built in the 1940s, the former Magnetic Windings building is full of history and character, she added.  The company is looking forward to reusing this structure while making sure less carbon emissions are being put in the air, she added.

In addition to this sale, Hawley also represented AMERCO in its $1.3 million purchase of a 5.3-acre tract at the corner of Spring Creek and Trexlertown Roads in Lower Macungie Township.

At the time, Hawley was a broker with Markward Group in Upper Macungie Township.

AMERCO plans to build a self-storage facility at that site, she said.