Dana to close Milwaukee facility

Dana Holding Corp., a Maumee, Ohio-based vehicle parts maker, plans to close its Milwaukee manufacturing facility by early 2013.

Milwaukee employees were informed recently that operations at its 11500 W. Brown Deer Road facility will be consolidated into the company’s existing Danville, Ky., facility. Dana will begin moving equipment late this year.

There are currently 165 employees at the Milwaukee location, a small portion of whom may have the option to move to another Dana facility, the company said in a statement.

“Dana evaluated many alternatives to this decision, but this in the end found this consolidation necessary to the long-term success of its U.S. gasket business,” the statement said.

Dana did not provide any further information on the reasons for the consolidation.

The company’s plans to close the plant are a blow to the Milwaukee area industrial real estate market, which had been gaining considerable strength. During the first three quarters of the year 2.87 million square feet of industrial space was absorbed in the Milwaukee area, and the vacancy rate has fallen from 9.2 percent a year ago to 7.6 percent, according to Xceligent Inc.

The lack of available industrial space in the region could help the Dana building sell quickly, said Jim Young of Cassidy Turley Barry.

“I think it will sell,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody snaps it up within the next year.”

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