Medallion Home to move into solar-powered office building

mjohnson@bradenton.comFebruary 19, 2014 

Once owned by boat builder Wellcraft, this nearly 36,000-square-foot office building at 1651 Whitfield Ave. will soon be the headquarters for Bradenton-based Medallion Home. MATT M. JOHNSON/BRADENTON HERALD

MANATEE -- Medallion Home is moving its headquarters into a building that will produce more of its own energy than many of the company's subdivisions consume.

In April, the Bradenton homebuilder will move 42 employees into 1651 Whitfield Ave., a two-story office building once owned by Wellcraft Marine. When those employees get there, they will be working in what could be one of the area's most energy-efficient buildings.

Medallion Home had the largest integrated solar roof in the state installed earlier this year. The roof is expected to generate enough electricity each year to run 315 homes. To make the most of the power generation, 98 percent of the building's lighting will be provided via LEDs.

"We hope FPL will pay us every month," said Medallion owner Carlos Beruff.

The energy-saving measures are part of a remodel of the building that started last May. Beruff said moving his entire operation to the 35,856-square foot building is an investment in his company. Medallion employees will occupy half of the building, while the remainder will be leased to other businesses. That extra capacity will give the company room to grow, Beruff said.

Whitfield Office LLC, a corporation owned by Beruff, purchased the building in late 2012 for $532,000, according to public records. It was part of a larger Wellcraft production facility when built in 1988. JRL Enterprises owns the other former Wellcraft buildings, which total about 326,000 square feet.

The multi-tiered, concrete office building is unique to an industrial part of Bradenton defined by Whitfield, 15th St.

E., and U.S. 301. Not only is it one of the few in the area that is not a metal-sided warehouse, it also has a tiny boat harbor behind it.

"It's a beautiful building," Beruff said. "It will be a nice statement for that part of town."

Beruff said he expects the cost of the 12-month remodel to exceed a $975,000 mortgage Whitfield Office has taken out on the building to pay for the work. Medallion is currently based just north of the new headquarters building, at 2212 58th Ave. E.

The solar roof is a big part of the remodel. Scott McIntyre, president of Tampa-based Solar Energy Management, said the roof his company installed is a sign Florida businesses are committing to solar energy. He said it helps that Beruff will receive a 30-percent federal solar investment tax credit.

"This is a breakthrough because it finally proves that commercial solar power works," he said.

The solar roof, which covers more than 6,900 square feet, is rated to produce 100,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. Because it is part of the roof structure, it is considered an "integrated solar roof system," McIntyre said. By that standard, it is the largest of its type in Florida.

Other commercial buildings in the state have larger solar arrays. Retailer IKEA is planning to build a 178,000-square-foot array on its new Miami-Dade store, according to the company's website.

The Medallion Home solar system is built to feed energy the building does not consume into the Florida Power and Light's electrical grid. FPL purchases the electricity. It can then be used by consumers elsewhere in the system. Medallion will be able to draw FPL power when its power needs exceed what the solar panels produce.

Medallion employs 65 people. Its current development projects include a 68-home site Enclave at Country Meadows on Upper Manatee Road, and the 86-home site Riva Trace near University Place.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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