As reported in written by Vinde Wells

MOUNT MORRIS – A long-shuttered printing plant has new owners, an investment firm that plans to renovate the site and lease it to new tenants.

Phoenix Mt. Morris LLC, an affiliate of Milwaukee-based Phoenix Investors, bought the former Quad/Graphics printing plant May 4 for $200,000, according to Ogle County property transfer documents filed Monday.

The 644,000-square-foot site at 404 S. Wesley Ave. was owned by Mt. Morris Business Park LLC (no connection to the village) of Downey, California, which bought the property in March 2013 for $375,000.

Phoenix Investors takes “under-utilized former manufacturing facilities and renovates them,” and the Mount Morris plant is no exception, Patrick Dedering, Phoenix vice president of leasing, said Tuesday.

The sale is “a positive action,” village President Dan Elsasser said. “It shows some promise in possibly getting something in there.”

Quad/Graphics Inc., based in Sussex, Wisconsin, ceased production on May 13, 2011. The business, originally called Kable Brothers Printing, was founded in 1898 by twins Harvey and Harry Kable, and for decades was the village’s largest employer, at one time employing more than 2,000 people.

Quad/Graphics Inc. bought the plant in January 2010 when it bought World Color Press Inc. for $1.3 billion, and sold it to Mt. Morris Business Park 3 years later. Quad/Graphics has leased the facility as a warehouse since.

Phoenix Investments, which owns about 23 million square feet of building space in 23 states, also bought the Quad/Graphics plant in Covington, Tennessee, and last year bought a closed 123-acre printing plant site in Mississippi, also from Quad/Graphics.

The two recent purchases cost the real estate investor $13.5 million.

“Both buildings have good bones and feature high clear ceiling heights,” Anthony Crivello, Phoenix executive vice president, said in a May 8 Milwaukee Business Journal article.

“We intend on renovating and ultimately restoring these legacy industrial assets back to their original greatness.”

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