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Johnson Controls leaving the Grantley Plant may be only partially correct

YORK International Ad on Pages 6 & 7 of the February 1994 issue of ASHRAE Journal

I’ve been asked a number of times; “You’ve worked at YORK, what do you think about the move to Hopewell Township in southern York County or Hunt Valley in northern Maryland?”  From what I read in the newspapers, it appears that test facilities, engineering and support personnel are slated to make the move.  A tax increment financing report, as noted in the York Daily Record, mentioned a head count of 440 relocating, which sounds about correct for those personnel.

A Grantley Open House was held a little over a year ago for employees and retirees.  I noticed that YORK Navy Systems was nicely consolidated within the remodeled part of the factory; i.e. the section completely redone following the explosion.  A York Daily Record article reported 750 workers at the Grantley location last year.

It is my guess that this Navy Systems workforce, a self-contained business unit of several hundred employees, will likely remain at the Grantley Plant after the 440 employees are relocated.  YORK Navy Systems is by far the dominant supplier not just to the U. S. Navy but also is a prime supplier to many other world navies including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Brunei, India and countless others.

Other posts in this series or related posts include:


The ad at the beginning of this post is from pages 6 & 7 of the February 1994 issue of ASHRAE Journal.  ASHRAE Journal is the trade publication of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers.  The text within this ad notes, “Since the early 1970s, YORK has been the U. S. Navy’s sole supplier of shipboard centrifugal chillers, with equipment installed on some 600 vessels.”

Text Detail within YORK International Ad on Pages 6 & 7 of the February 1994 issue of ASHRAE Journal

If the 300 or so employees of YORK Navy Systems are the last former YORK employees to work for Johnson Controls on the Grantley Campus, it will be a far cry from over 4,800 working at this site when I was first employed as a YORK Engineer in 1972.  During the first six years that I worked at YORK, both the residential air conditioning and the automotive air conditioning groups moved to plants in other parts of the country.

Many people do not realize that in the early 1970s, YORK produced at the rate of 10,000 automotive air-conditioning compressors a day, with Ford their biggest customer.  A 1978 Open House at the Grantley Plant noted that employment at this location was down to 3,537.

When I retired, the aging test facilities and buildings for commercial and industrial product development were scattered around the Grantley Campus.  I understand the need to modernize and consolidate everything.  Four buildings on the Johnson Controls corporate campus in Glendale, Wisconsin were recently awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest concentration of LEED Platinum buildings ever recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council.

A new LEED certified building housing test facilities and product development for Johnson Controls Building Efficiency business makes a lot of sense from an efficiency and Marketing standpoint.  Also consider that Johnson Controls no longer owns the Grantley Campus.

Johnson Controls sold the Grantley Campus to Patriot Equities, a real estate investment and development firm based near Wayne, PA in 2007.  Johnson Controls is currently leasing back about two-thirds of the building space on the property; their lease is up in 2017 per an article in the Central Penn Business Journal.  That is only 4-years away.

This is my 104th post. An inventory of the general topics and locations that have been the subjects of my first 100 posts are presented in a 100-tile mosaic that breaks down these posts into seven general categories.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts