TYLER — Tyler’s largest manufacturing employer cut the ribbon on a renovated facility last week and pledged continued involvement in the community.
Trane, a subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand, had an open house Thursday at its new facility on Texas 110. The company manufactures units for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. According to data from the Tyler Economic Development Council, it employs more than 1,300 people in Tyler.
The $6.5 million project included renovation of the company’s two-story office building and a 40,000-square-foot expansion of its sheet metal department.
“As a major employer in the area, we are excited to make these investments in our facility,” said Ted Crabtree, Trane vice president of operations. “They help make this a great place to work and create a showplace for customers and partners.”
The company received a five-year tax abatement from the city of Tyler and Smith County to invest $6.5 million in the new office facility and hire 50 employees, according to Felecia Herndon, vice president of the Tyler Economic Development Council.
“The new facility will establish a flagship identity for Trane and create an innovative presence that will exhibit the latest innovative technologies,” Herndon said. “The building design emphasizes common space and customer areas to accommodate customers, dealers and installers.”
The event attracted dozens of employees and community leaders, including Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran and Tyler Mayor Martin Heines. After the festivities, the company offered a tour of the manufacturing floor.
Serge Zotob of Fitzpatrick Architects was the primary designer of the building. He said in an interview that the previous building had a massive, opaque front that masked what was going on inside when people drove by.
“There was no ability to tell what was really happening inside, when really this is a flagship engineering and training facility,” Zotob said. “Now when you drive by, you can see all the cool stuff that’s happening inside.”
Zotob said the project was a renovation instead of a complete build from the ground up. Its pricetag was in the ballpark of $5 million.
The project removed the second floor in several parts of the interior. The remaining part of the second floor largely contains office space for engineers.
The ground-floor break room has restaurant-style booths for seating. The exterior is cut at an artistic angle to resemble the pieces within the air conditioning units that the company manufactures.
“There are 300 engineers working in the facility,” said Steve Fitzpatrick of Fitzpatrick Architects. “There’s really cutting-edge, high-tech work going on, and we wanted to create a facility that exhibited that.”