New Facility Visually Connects All Areas of Operation
ST. LOUIS – Automotive LED lighting manufacturer Diode Dynamics is moving into its new 70,000-square-foot headquarters/manufacturing facility in St. Charles, Mo. Contegra Construction has completed the facility at Fountain Lakes Commerce Center. Diode Dynamics reports high demand for its products in the aftermarket LED lighting industry, requiring expansion of manufacturing capacity to support its growth. The company is moving its existing employees from Earth City, Mo. and plans to add 36 new positions over the next five years. The firm currently employs 90 people.
“The design and construction team delivered a building that reflects the transparency of our company culture,” said Diode Dynamics Chief Executive Officer Paul McCain, whose firm began in 2006 and was previously located in two separate buildings in Earth City. “Our company values include teamwork. The design and construction of this new headquarters allows us to see each other and interact regularly.”
Located at 3870 Millstone Parkway in St Charles, Mo., the new headquarters and manufacturing facility features a showroom, two drive-in engineering bays, an electronics manufacturing area, engineering laboratory, 30-foot clear height warehouse, and a two story office space.
“Contegra was a fantastic partner in this project, meeting our unique needs with excellent communication at every step of the way,” noted McCain.
Visually connecting areas of operation unfolds in a number of ways. The facility spans two floors with views into the manufacturing area. The design and construction feature contemporary aluminum frames and glass, offering a clear view of the manufacturing space from the second-floor boardroom as well.
“Integration of the second-floor mezzanines provide an overlook into the lobby and into the manufacturing space,” McCain said. “Our 2,500-square-foot breakroom features floor-to-ceiling overlook windows from the mezzanine level.”
The facility also offers a glimpse of the assembly process where engineers see their concepts being produced in real time. “On the first floor, adjacent to engineering, is our circuit board assembly line,” McCain said. “Our engineers have windows to look directly into the production process and provide fast support when necessary.”
The building also features a 100-foot-long, darkroom tunnel utilized in testing the light output from vehicle headlights. “By rotating headlights on specialized equipment, we can map out the entire output pattern as a means of measuring and compliance testing,” said McCain. “It’s a tunnel equipped with black-out curtains to test for light spread and ensure that the pattern of the light – as emitted by various automotive vehicles – meets all department of transportation and engineering standards.”
The facility is constructed with conventional steel frames and load bearing exterior tilt-up concrete wall panels. Working closely with Diode Dynamics, Contegra customized the facility to meet specific needs. It hosts an 18,000-square-foot office, 37,000-square-foot warehouse and a 15,000-square-foot manufacturing area. The new facility has the potential to double in size.
Joining Contegra on the project are Remiger Design, BAX Engineering and SSC Engineering. Subcontractors include Kaemmerlen Electric, electrical; O.J. Laughlin Plumbing Co., Inc., plumbing; Wiegmann Associates, mechanical; and Bi-State Fire Protection Corp., fire protection.
The project was financed by Bank of Franklin County. Diode Dynamics was represented by James Delgado of Cozad Commercial Real Estate, with David Zobel of Danna McKitrick, P.C. acting as counsel. The project is also supported by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the 504 loan program of the Economic Development Council (EDC) of St. Charles County, and the City of St. Charles, Mo.
Established in 2008, Diode Dynamics is a privately-held designer, manufacturer, and distributor of automotive lighting products. For more information, visit www.diodedynamics.com.
Based in Edwardsville, Ill., Contegra is one of the St. Louis area’s largest general contractors and serves a national customer base that includes industrial, institutional, municipal, multi-family, office and retail projects. Its capabilities include building developer- and owner-driven projects and site development. Learn more at www.contegracc.com.