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GREENSBURG, PA, June 27, 2023 — Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation (WCIDC) and Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) last week finalized a joint venture that will spur economic development in northern Westmoreland County by redeveloping the nearly 70-acre New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park.
WCIDC Directors Sean Kertes, Douglas Chew and Gina Cerilli Thrasher unanimously approved the partnership with RIDC. RIDC has agreed to the terms, as well.
“As county commissioners and WCIDC directors, we’re extremely excited by this opportunity to invest in the Alle-Kiski Valley with a project that will transform more than a million square feet of this key industrial site so it can continue to attract quality businesses and jobs for decades to come,” WCIDC Chairman Sean Kertes said. “This property has a manufacturing legacy of more than 130 years, and we couldn’t ask for a better partner to modernize it than RIDC.”
This project will be the latest of many large industrial parks that RIDC has revitalized, including at the former Sony and Volkswagen plant which is now RIDC Westmoreland Innovation Park, the former Westinghouse plant in Turtle Creek which is now RIDC’s Keystone Commons, and many others.
“Partnerships are crucial to the success of projects like this,” said RIDC President Donald F. Smith, Jr. “Westmoreland County and the IDC have shown a great commitment to economic growth, as have the cities of New Kensington and Arnold. With funding from the Commonwealth and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, support from many community stakeholders and the presence of Re:Build Manufacturing on the property, this campus can become a center of high-quality jobs once again.”
Located along the Allegheny River in the cities of New Kensington and Arnold, the 69.71-acre brownfield property was the initial manufacturing site for Alcoa. Developed in stages starting in 1892 — the year after Alcoa’s precursor company moved to New Kensington — the complex has 20 industrial buildings and 1,119,248 square feet of leasable space. The park’s oldest remaining building dates to 1923; its newest was constructed in 1978.
Noting that it could take up to 10 years to redevelop the entire park, WCIDC Vice-Chair Doug Chew said this is a project that required public involvement.
“There aren’t many entities in private industry that are willing to tackle a project like this,” Chew said. “As we’ve consistently done over the past 40 years, the WCIDC is able to make this kind of long-term, strategic investment to strengthen our communities and promote economic development. We’ve done this in several locations throughout the county and now have a park system that is home to more than 160 companies and 9,000 jobs. Given the momentum that has been generated in New Kensington and Arnold by The Corner and The Digital Foundry at New Kensington, we expect similar success here.”
WCIDC and RIDC are each contributing $3 million to the newly formed NKAMP LLC, which will transform New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park into a modern manufacturing park. The initiative includes an additional $25 million in public, foundation and nonprofit funding, as well as a $50 million investment by Re:Build Manufacturing. Re:Build announced at a May 1 event attended by Gov. Josh Shapiro that it will establish a 175,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing operation in the park.
WCIDC Executive Director Jason Rigone praised the many individuals and organizations that supported this project.
“Without the help of numerous partners, this WCIDC-RIDC joint venture wouldn’t have happened,” Rigone said. “Governor Shapiro, Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward and Majority Leader Joe Pittman and our House delegation led by Representative George Dunbar provided strong leadership at the state level that was essential to getting this done. The Richard King Mellon Foundation contributed generous support, and of course Re:Build Manufacturing — the “private” in this public-private partnership — played a key role, as well.”
Suitable for industrial and tech flex users, the industrial park currently is home to seven companies that occupy 495,117 square feet. When Re:Build’s commitment is factored in, the occupancy rate is 59.8 percent.
After Alcoa-New Kensington Works closed in 1971, the property was converted to a multi-tenant facility that operated as Schreiber Industrial Park. The Redevelopment Authority of the City of New Kensington purchased the property in 2018 as part of its efforts to reinvigorate economic growth.
The WCIDC-RIDC joint venture is in the midst of a due-diligence period of a deal that would transfer the property from the redevelopment authority. Upon completion of the deal, the joint venture would assume the park-related debt — approximately $10.7 million — that is held by the Redevelopment Authority of the City New Kensington.
WCIDC Director Gina Cerilli Thrasher credits local officials for taking steps to preserve the park as a going concern.
“The city and the Redevelopment Authority of New Kensington deserve a lot of credit for their leadership and for taking ownership of this significant property at a time when its future was uncertain,” Cerilli Thrasher said. “Their foresight made it possible for us to make improvements that will benefit the local economy for decades to come.”
This is the second collaboration between WCIDC and RIDC. The WCIDC is a marketing partner for RIDC Westmoreland Innovation Center, a 2.8 million square-foot facility in East Huntingdon that has been successfully transformed into a multi-tenant center for technology and value-added manufacturing.
About Regional Industrial Development Corporation
The mission of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern PA is to catalyze and support economic growth and high-quality job creation through policy advocacy, real estate development and finance of projects that advance the public interest. A not-for-profit entity, RIDC has developed over 2,800 acres in 16 industrial and innovation parks and manages over 7 million square feet. More information is available at www.ridc.org.
About Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation
Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation is proudly celebrating four decades of economic-development in 2023. Founded in 1983 by the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners, the WCIDC implements a comprehensive economic development strategy to promote growth in terms of job creation and economic output while providing a stable tax base for Westmoreland County. Through the development of a county-wide industrial park system, participation in public/private partnerships, and the operation of a responsive a Business Calling Program, WCIDC strives to foster business growth, resulting in job opportunities for the citizens of Westmoreland County. New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park will be the 20th asset in the WCIDC system. www.WestmorelandCountyIDC.org.