Project History

RIDC Westmoreland - A Time Line

History of the New Stanton Site

Prior to development
1965 - 1,200 acre site prior to development
Decades before Sony, the area was first deemed attractive to Chrysler Corporation officials who saw the industrial potential of the rural swath of land between Route 119 and Interstate 70. This is where they began construction of an auto plant in 1968, but due to an industry-wide slowdown, Chrysler was forced to delay opening indefinitely and never finished construction of the building. The unfinished shell sat idle for several years, but the state's investment paid off.

Chrysler Corporation shell 1967 - 1977 - 1,200 acre site with relocated Route 119 and construction of 2.8 million SF shell by Chrysler Corporation
In 1976, Volkswagen of America was attracted to the empty building where they completed infrastructure improvements and set up an assembly plant for the company's fuel-efficient Rabbit. The German company's arrival brought a much-anticipated measure of prosperity to the region. The first Rabbits rolled off the line in 1978, eventually producing some 200,000 cars, and employing close to 5,700 people at its peak production. For almost 12 years, with an average employment of 2,500, Volkswagen operated its assembly plant producing the fuel-efficient model and then the community suffered yet another setback. In 1988, Volkswagen announced it would close its doors, presenting the County once again with the challenge of finding a new tenant for the 2.8 million SF facility.

Volkswagen of America 1978 - 1988 - 1,200 acre site with new four-lane highway with access road, new railroad and rail yard for Volkswagen of America
About the same time Volkswagen was leaving, Sony Electronics was searching the East Coast for the right location to build its television sets. In 1990, Sony announced their intentions to move to the Westmoreland County site because it had the building and the infrastructure already in place to quickly begin manufacturing. Employees, who at one time numbered more than 3,000, felt lucky to work for a company that offered healthy paychecks, solid benefits and job security. In addition, the electronics giant brought with it even more development to supplement its manufacturing with the construction of a neighboring 500,000 SF glass plant occupied by American Video Glass Company and an extended rail spur to accommodate its operations. Glory days were here again for the region as the community took advantage of the investment in infrastructure. Two new industrial parks were developed along with the opening of a new rail freight intermodal terminal. The facility was packed full, but that dream ended, just as it had once before . . . and once before that. In 2008, a gradual down-sizing Sony announced it would be pulling out completely by the end of 2010.

Sony at peak production 2003 - 1,200 acre site with Sony Electronics Inc., American Video Glass Company, two new industrial parks, a new rail freight terminal, and plans for additional development
State and local officials began developing an aggressive plan for reuse of the facility. In April 2010, WCIDC along with The Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania (RIDC) joined in a partnership agreement with the owner of the facility, Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), to provide a comprehensive analysis of the development potential of the 330 acre site.

Thus far, members of this economic development team have conducted an interim maintenance plan, a real estate market analysis, and a master plan for the reuse of the site for multiple businesses including code analysis, infrastructure needs, physical construction requirements and transportation and utility access.

With intent to lease the facility, the partnership has combined their resources toward the common goal of facilitating growth in employment numbers at the site.

To date, approximately 1 million square feet of space has been leased to long-term tenants.

2010 - Site Layout RIDC Westmoreland 1. Main Building 2. Administrative Building 3. Central Utilities Plant (CUP) 4. Site Maintenance Facility 5. Waste Water Treatment Plant