Elliott Company plans to build facility at old Jeannette Glass site
A proposed redevelopment project at the former Jeannette Glass site would create at least 130 jobs and could have a ripple effect throughout the downtown district, officials said.
Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. board Thursday unanimously approved a purchase and sale agreement with the Elliott Group for $600,000 for the 13.8-acre property.
As reports about the project have circulated for weeks, individuals interested in other downtown properties have been in contact with city community development coordinator Diana Reitz.
The Elliott Group proposal was good news to Reitz and other city officials.
"We're excited, we look forward to working with Elliott Co.," Reitz said. "We're just elated in the fact that they wanted to stay in our community. It's creating interest in the downtown business district in general because this is the heart."
During a public meeting at the Westmoreland County Courthouse, the board, composed of the three county commissioners, approved a resolution authorizing the sale of the property for the project they said would bring up to 150 jobs.
Elliott Group officials have not yet signed off on the agreement. Company officials declined to comment Thursday.
The company proposes to build a cryogenic pump test stand on the former glass plant property, according to county officials. The company employs about 875 people at its U.S. headquarters along Route 130 in Jeannette, 1.5 miles from the former glass production site that the IDC bought for $305,000 at a 2012 tax sale.
A $6 million remediation and redevelopment project at the property is on track for completion by July 1.
The Elliott Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Ebara Corp., supplies compressors and turbines for liquefied natural gas plants.
County officials welcomed the news from the industrial development group.
"This is huge for the city of Jeannette, for Westmoreland County," Commissioner Gina Cerilli said after approving the county's part of the agreement. "We are all very excited to bring something new to the city of Jeannette."
The agreement has been in the works for several months, officials said.
"This has been the worst-kept rumor," Commissioner Charles Anderson joked.
IDC Director Jason Rigone commended the board's courage and patience in taking on the project. After the 2012 purchase, county officials faced years of legal challenges from the previous owner, the late Abraham Zion of New York. The state Supreme Court upheld the sale, and the parties reached a settlement in 2016.
A ground-breaking ceremony in May marked the beginning of the project at the brownfield site, which has been funded by state and local dollars.
Commissioner Ted Kopas was pleased a potential buyer was identified so quickly.
"And with a hometown company is really the icing on the cake," he said.
Rigone said the IDC is in the process of acquiring the rights to a railroad spur that runs through the property from the city's redevelopment authority.
"It's a strong project in terms of job creation," Rigone said. "Elliott has a strong reputation for good relations with their employees. I just think it's a tremendous opportunity."
If the agreement is approved by Elliott officials, the proposed plant would be used to test cryogenic pumps and expanders for the liquefied natural gas industry. Those pumps and expanders would be manufactured at Elliott's current Jeannette location.
They are currently manufactured at Nevada-based EIC Cryo, which Elliott Group is integrating into its operations. EIC Cryo stands for Ebara International Corp.'s Cryodynamics Division.
Scott Avolio, who served as city solicitor during the years that the county wrestled over control of the property, called the proposed project a "grand slam" for Jeannette.
"The IDC was a great partner in taking the chance on that tax sale," he said.
Zion purchased the old factory in 1983 for $4 million and, for decades, let it sit dormant. The years of court challenges stymied redevelopment plans at the property, which was littered with rusted buildings and hazardous remnants of glass making. Zion died in 2016. The eyesore has been replaced with clean, fresh soil.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, email@example.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.