EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 13, 2009

High-tech paint firm plans move to Lawrence's Morehouse building

LAWRENCE — A plan to move a high-tech company to Lawrence not only will breathe life back into the old Morehouse Bakery building, but also bring 25 to 50 new jobs to the city.

And officials at Performance Indicators, the Lowell company slated to move into the building at the corner of Mill and Methuen streets, said there is potential for dozens more new jobs in the future.

Performance Indicators created an advanced paint product that can be used in a variety of applications — from identifying friendly soldiers on a battlefield to lighting staircases in darkened subway tunnels and stadiums.

Sales were so good last year that the company needs larger accommodations, managing partner Robb Osinski said.

Late last week, Osinski and the building's owner, Architectural Heritage Foundation, announced the agreement. The foundation has owned the site since 2007, but the building has been vacant for more than a year after plans for Cambridge School of Culinary Arts to open a satellite campus there fell through.

Within a year, Performance Indicators should be able to move into the building, which most recently was used by a metal plating company.

Osinski said 2008 was his company's "breakout year."

"That's why we need to make this move," he said. "We need to house more employees and we need more space to expand into."

City officials have been working for months behind the scenes to bring the firm to Lawrence.

"This is a really good company for that area of the city," said Tom Schiavone, community development director. "It's a great fit for Lawrence with tremendous potential for job creation."

The foundation's project managers, Jeffrey Oakman and Sarah Hansen, said their Boston firm will act as developers of the $11 million rehabilitation of the old bakery building, which will eventually be sold to Performance Indicators.

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