Firm to move from Savoy to northwest Champaign

Firm to move from Savoy to northwest Champaign

CHAMPAIGN — Reliable Mechanical Co. plans to move to Champaign's Interstate Research Park this spring, company President Mike Meislahn said Tuesday.

The company, currently at 109 W. Curtis Road, Savoy, is in the process of building a 21,500-square-foot office and warehouse at 1411 W. Interstate Drive, Meislahn said.

The 3-acre site is just west of EP Technology Corp. and just east of Provena Home Care.

Reliable is moving from Savoy to make way for further development of Marketplace at Savoy.

That development, at the southwest corner of U.S. 45 and Curtis Road, will include a CVS store and a McDonald's restaurant, and developer Todd Raufeisen has been in negotiations with a grocery interested in that location. The grocery has not yet been publicly identified.

Meislahn's sister, Debbie Clasey — Reliable's vice president — said the company needs to vacate the Savoy location by June 1 and hopes to take possession of the Interstate Drive building in mid- to late April.

Broeren Russo is handling construction of the building, which will be nearly double the size of Reliable's existing facility, Meislahn said.

"We anticipate growth in the future," he said. "We outgrew this building 10 years ago."

The new location will put Reliable close to its main wholesaler, Capitol Group, which is also in Interstate Research Park, Meislahn said.

The new site will also give Reliable easy access to Interstates 57, 72 and 74 and to Champaign's west side "where a lot of building is taking place," he added.

Reliable provides plumbing, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and sheet-metal fabrication for customers within a 90-mile radius of Champaign-Urbana.

The firm does commercial, industrial and residential work, but much of its business is institutional work for hospitals, schools and the University of Illinois, Meislahn said.

Reliable does some geothermal work and is considering expanding services in that area, he added.

The company usually employs between 35 and 75 people, depending on the amount of work available, he said.

Reliable Mechanical is a fourth-generation family firm. Formerly known as Reliable Plumbing and Heating, it was founded in 1902 by Meislahn's and Clasey's great-grandfather, Chester "Chet" Brownell Sr.

The business later passed to his daughter and son-in-law, Ernie and Marian Brownell Meislahn, and then to their son, Richard Meislahn, before going to his son and daughter.

According to a 1954 News-Gazette article, the business was founded in 1902 at 105 N. Walnut St. in downtown Champaign and moved in 1923 to 109 W. University Ave., C — the current site of Christie Clinic's parking lot.

Reliable moved to 1607 S. Neil St., C — near the current Trade Center South site — in early 1955. In 1989, the company moved its headquarters south to Savoy, where its sheet-metal shop was already located.