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GREENSBURG, PA, October 18, 2023 — The joint venture between Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation (WCIDC) and Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) today finalized the acquisition of the New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park from the Redevelopment Authority of the City of New Kensington. The transaction paves the way for the WCIDC-RIDC partnership to transform the former Alcoa complex into a modern manufacturing park.
Established in June, the joint venture aims to spur economic development in northern Westmoreland County by redeveloping and reinvigorating a 69.71-acre manufacturing facility with a 130-year legacy that is closely intertwined with the development of the modern Alle-Kiski valley.
In May, Re:Build Manufacturing announced that it would occupy 175,000 square feet, currently being built out for an advanced manufacturing operation. Re:Build chose the site after a highly competitive site-selection process that considered locations in several other states. The 1.1-million square-foot industrial park complex also is home to seven additional companies that occupy 495,117 square feet.
“This complex, which Alcoa’s precursor company started developing in 1892, is going to be key to attracting quality businesses and skilled manufacturing jobs back to the New Kensington and Arnold area in the 21st century,” WCIDC Chairman Sean Kertes said. “Now that the joint venture has ownership of the property, we’re excited to work with RIDC on transforming this facility into a center of advanced manufacturing.”
Donald F. Smith, Jr., president of RIDC, notes that the revitalization effort is made possible by the support of several partners.
“Governor Shapiro, legislative leaders including Senators Pittman and Ward, economic development agencies including the Department of Community and Economic Development, civic organizations like the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Richard King Mellon Foundation have all lent their support to this project,” Smith said. “Over the past several months, we have been assessing the condition of the entire property and developing our plan for improving existing buildings, marketing the location and positioning the site to become a center of economic activity once again. Revitalization will take time, but we are committed to moving forward and making progress.”
“Re:Build has committed to resurrecting the former home of Alcoa and to creating 300 highly-skilled, well-paid jobs. We don’t intend to stop there. This redevelopment effort and projects such as the Digital Foundry at New Kensington are sending a very clear message that Westmoreland County is serious about being an advanced-manufacturing hotbed for decades to come,” said WCIDC Vice-Chair Doug Chew. “I’m very excited for the Alle-Kiski Valley.”
The industrial park operated for decades as Alcoa-New Kensington Works. Alcoa closed the plant in 1971, and it subsequently was converted to a multi-tenant facility that was renamed Schreiber Industrial Park. The Redevelopment Authority of the City of New Kensington bought it in 2018 to spur economic growth and rechristened it New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park.
The WCIDC/RIDC joint venture acquired the property from the redevelopment authority in exchange for assuming all park-related debt — approximately $10.7 million — that was held by the redevelopment authority. Doing so frees up the authority to pursue other redevelopment projects.
WCIDC Secretary Ted Kopas credits local officials for preserving the park when its future was uncertain.
“Without the Redevelopment Authority of New Kensington taking ownership, I’m not sure that we’d be in a position to modernize this facility. We certainly wouldn’t have attracted Re:Build,” Kopas said. “Once old industrial facilities are shuttered, they can quickly fall into blight, which often leads to just one suitable economic-development option: demolition; the WCIDC saw that with the Jeannette Glass complex that we redeveloped. New Kensington’s city and redevelopment officials should be applauded for having the foresight to keep this facility a going concern. They made this possible.”
Noting the success of another collaboration with RIDC, WCIDC Executive Director Jason Rigone is excited by the joint venture’s potential.
“This is the WCIDC’s second collaboration with RIDC and we’re excited to get started in the Alle-Kiski Planning District,” Rigone said. “Every project has its own challenges, and this large-scale manufacturing complex is no different. Our partnership to transform the 2.8 million SF RIDC Westmoreland facility from a single-user design for Sony to a multi-tenant facility had its own set of challenges. Although these are different projects, we expect similar success with New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park.”
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.
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.
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