Keystone Land purchase finalized|
WEST WHITELAND -- Giles & Ransome Inc., dealer of CAT construction equipment, is the new owner of the 12-acre former Keystone Helicopter headquarters on Phoenixville Pike. The purchase was finalized Monday between Giles & Ransome and Peter Wright, the founder and former owner of Keystone Helicopter, who sold Keystone to Keystone Ranger Holdings, an aviation venture capital group, in 2002. (Last year, Keystone Ranger sold the company to Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, Conn., a United Technologies subsidiary.) Until Monday, Wright still owned the land and buildings, where he moved the company from the Philadelphia International Airport 35 years ago, and leased them back to Keystone. The site will be Giles & Ransome’s first in Chester County. Giles & Ransome will hire 40 to 50 people for its new facility, ranging from salespeople to mechanics. Keystone Helicopter is almost finished moving most of the remaining 150 to 175 West Whiteland employees to its new Keystone Heliplex in the Bellaire Business Center, Sadsbury, said Rick Hinkle, Keystone sales vice president. A few will remain until April in a building Keystone will now rent from Giles & Ransome, mostly for its paint booth operation. Keystone opened its second building at Bellaire last March and will complete its third by early next year, at a total cost of $13 million. The company employs 600 in all. Said Wright, "This is the end of an era. I had a nice rental arrangement with Keystone Helicopter." The property was on the market about six months with an asking price of $5.8 million, said Jackson Cross broker Mary Frances McGarrity. Along with colleague Neil DeRiemer, the pair represented Wright during the transaction. Jackson Cross broker Eric Gorman represented Giles & Ransome. Neither Wright nor McGarrity would divulge the purchase price. Wayne Bromley, president of Giles & Ransome, said his company wants to be no farther than a 30-minute drive from any customer. And, "given Chester County’s rapid expansion, we want to be here," he added. Other Giles & Ransome retail sales outlets are in Bear, Del.; Bensalem, Fleetwood and Whitehall, and Hammonton and Toms River, N.J. The company also owns Ransome Rents locations in Atlantic City/Pleasantville, N.J.; Levittown/Philadelphia, Allentown and Limerick, and Wilmington/New Castle, Del. Ransome Engine locations are in Bear, Del.; Bensalem and Hammonton, N.J. Wayne Bromley is married to Jane Ransome Bromley, whose grandfather, Percy Ransome Sr., founded the Bensalem-based company 90 years ago. Bromley and his wife bought out 40 other Ransome family members between 1990 and 1992. Daughters Lauren and Kristin work with them. To contact staff writer Sarah E. Moran, send an e-mail to email@example.com.