Manufacturer vacates Scott’s Addition amid redevelopment

phipps & bird facility

Phipps & Bird is vacating its facility at 1519 Summit Ave. in Scott’s Addition. (Courtesy Justin Paley)

After its home of more than 20 years was sold for another Scott’s Addition redevelopment, a local manufacturer has found new digs and is punching out of the neighborhood.

Phipps & Bird is preparing to vacate its longtime, 35,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility at 1519 Summit Ave. and 3015 Moore St.

The company, which produces scientific kits, tools and accessories, is preparing to take over 27,600 square feet of industrial space it has leased at 2924 Bells Road on the Southside.

“It’s bittersweet for us,” said Wes Skaperdus, Phipps & Bird owner and operator. “But when you look at what’s happening in the neighborhood, there is a better use for this property than manufacturing … it’s time for us to move on.”

Phipps & Bird is moving nonessential items into the new building, Skaperdus said, and hopes to have its 12 employees operational in the new space by April.

In the meantime, the firm is leasing its space back to the new owners of the property: Jason Guillot and Justin Paley. The two up-and-coming developers plan to convert the site into a mixed-use project dubbed The Spur, with restaurants, retail and office space in mind.

The pair paid $2.7 million for the property in late December.

“We think it’s going to be a great addition to the neighborhood once it’s finished,” Skaperdus said of The Spur. “Of course we’d love to be here when that takes place, but given the nature of our business, this is a good move for our company.”

Phipps & Bird manufactures and sells items including wastewater treatment kits, high-school and college science experiment kits and blood palate analyzers.

Skaperdus said the move to Southside will allow the company to configure the space to its needs, adding that higher ceilings will help with manufacturing operations.

southside warehouse

Phipps & Bird will move operations to 2924 Bells Road in Southside. (J. Elias O’Neal)

He and his wife, Phipps & Bird co-owner Pattie Skaperdus, first moved into the Scott’s Addition facility in September 1996. The couple purchased the building in 2004 for $1.3 million.

“We were here during the dark days of Scott’s Addition,” Wes joked. “You were hard-pressed to find the types of amenities that you (presently) see within walking distance of this building.”

A former outpost for Reynolds Metals, the two buildings were constructed in 1948. The site later was converted into a Reynolds research facility, where the first aluminum baseball bat and Chevy Vega engine would be developed, according to historic records.

Phipps & Bird is the latest established company to leave Scott’s Addition for calmer real estate submarkets in the region.

Worse for Wear, a local motorcycle apparel company geared toward women, is selling its three-story, 5,000-square-foot building at 3012 W. Broad St. in favor of a spot in Henrico County.

And Sportscar Workshops, which sells and maintains classic sports cars, is leaving its building at 1210 Myers St. in favor of a property it purchased this month at 2661 Hull St., just south of Manchester.

“It’s a very cool building that has a lot of history, and I know the new owners have some very exciting things in store,” Skaperdus said.

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