Knepper Press signs lease at airport

An Oakdale printing company is set to become the newest tenant at a commercial development on Pittsburgh International Airport property.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority on Friday approved a 29-year lease for Knepper Press to relocate to an 11.5-acre site at Clinton Commerce Park in Findlay. The company, founded in 1873 and in its fifth generation of family ownership, plans to build a 100,000-square-foot building on the land.

Airport officials lauded the news, which places a second company at a site that can hold up to four tenants. A 200,000-square-foot building for the Buncher Co. is under construction and expected to be completed later this year.

"The only way to meet (Knepper Press') time frame was to have a site that was shovel-ready," said Randy Forister, the airport authority's senior director of development. "One-hundred-thousand square feet is nothing to sneeze at. It's a significant expansion in this marketplace."

Knepper Press will move 110 employees to the facility by the end of next summer and plans to hire up to 40 people, said Ted Ford, the company's co-owner and CEO. The company will add two presses to its operation.

"We wanted to find a nice piece of ground we could grow," Ford said.

The 29-year lease comes with two 10-year options to renew. Ford and airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny declined to discuss financial details of the deal. Jenny said some details have not been finalized.

Site preparation at Clinton Commerce Park, which covers 240 acres, was paid for in part by a $7.5 million state Department of Community and Economic Development grant, officials said.