by BRAD ROLLINS
Precision instrumentation manufacturer Mensor Corp. broke ground Wednesday on a new 45,000-square-foot facility next door to the building it has occupied since relocating to San Marcos from Houston 35 years ago.
The expansion will span 3.5 acres where its current building sits and 3.3 adjacent acres in the Thermon Industrial Park south of Wonder World Drive. Construction is expected to cost $6.3 million, Mensor Corp. President Lee Graham said.
Since being purchased by Klingenberg, Germany-based WIKA Group in April 2006, Mensor has taken over one product line previously manufactured in Germany, Graham said. With a track record of efficiency among WIKA’s 43 subsidiaries, Mensor expects further expansion.
“We’ve proven that we can produce more economically than some of these other markets, particularly European markets. There is the possibility we could pick up more products from there,” Graham said. “At the same time, we want to grow organically. We’ve been pretty innovative in the past and we expect to do that in the future.”
If the company hits its growth targets, it anticipates adding 40 employees over the next decade to the 70 already on its payroll, Graham said.
Mensor makes pressure and temperature measurement and calibration systems used in industries that include manufacturing, aviation, meteorology and research and engineering laboratories.
The company did not seek property tax abatements or other subsidies from the city except for a waiver from a code requirement that it build a sidewalk along its Interstate 35 access road frontage. Mensor’s site plan does include a sidewalk along Barnes Drive in front of its current and new building, but Graham objected to building a sidewalk in “our backyard” where it would not connect to any other sidewalks.
“We’ve been in San Marcos a long time and expect to be here for a long time. We’ve contributed a lot to the community but the [sidewalk requirement] just didn’t make sense to us,” Graham said.
At the urging of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, the city council granted the waiver on Oct. 2, saving the company $21,500 it would have otherwise had to pay City Hall.
Mensor Corp. was founded in Houston in 1969 and moved its headquarters and production facilities to San Marcos in 1978. Since its acquisition, Mensor is among WIKA’s 10 manufacturing facilities on five continents. In the United States, WIKA operates production facilities in Lawrenceville, Ga. and in Deer Park, near Houston, in addition to San Marcos.
“We had opportunities to move to other locations, but wanted to stay in San Marcos,” Graham said.
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