When the Blong Technology Center chose the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center as its home, it had to have vision for what the park would become.
Opened in 2001 on 10 acres donated by the city of Davenport, the manufacturing technology center selected the site for many of the same reasons its new tenants are putting down roots — location and accessibility.
"Career and technical students come to community college because they want jobs, and we wanted to be close to the manufacturing environment because those are our clients as well," said Nancy Kothenbeutel, Eastern Iowa Community Colleges' vice chancellor. ''Our thought was we wanted access for working adults, and it has become the college for working adults."
Because the Blong Center was first to set up business in the industrial center, she said, "it took awhile" for the park to populate with manufacturers and others. "It was an industrial park; we knew they would come."
John Sadler, president of Sadler Power Train, the newest tenant about to open shop, said the location and the proximity of his customers drew him to expand his Davenport facility there.
"This is the place to be if you're in the truck or repair business," he said.
Sadler's was one of the projects that took years to develop from when he first looked at the park in 2007. His existing operation on West 75th Street was landlocked and too small to grow the business. With blueprints drawn, he put the project on hold in May 2008 — just six weeks before his Cedar Rapids headquarters was destroyed by flooding.
The company, which rebuilds transmissions, differentials and drive shafts, is preparing to move from a two-service-bay facility into a building with eight service bays and double the space.
Likewise, Penske Truck Leasing had Davenport roots when it needed to expand.
"That location had some of the key criteria that was important to us," Tom Leto, Penske's district manager, said of the industrial park.
Penske opened a $4.2 million, 11,800-square-foot building in June in the industrial park. The company offers full-service truck leasing, consumer and commercial truck rental and contract maintenance services.
The site, Leto added, "was very conducive to the type of fleet business we have." The new facility spans eight acres, which will allow the company to accommodate more trucks and expand in the future.
The prime interstate location has raised Penske's profile in the region, he said.