New life could come to unused part of Arnold 'glass house' tract
Arnold Mayor Larry Milito is hopeful the planned sale of former glass factory property near Drey Street will herald redevelopment in the city.
“It's a sign of growth,” Milito said.
Earlier this month, council approved the subdivision of the 16-acre property owned by Keystone Rustproofing Inc. along Dr. Thomas Boulevard behind the city's public safety building. The property once was home to the American St. Gobain “glass house,” which employed hundreds until it closed in the late 1960s.
David LaPearle, an engineer with the firm PVE Sheffler, told council that Keystone is negotiating the sale of about 11.5 acres to Oakmont-based Carload Express Inc., the parent company of the Allegheny Valley Railroad.
LaPearle said the short-line railroad, which transports freight across Western Pennsylvania, plans to extend an old, abandoned railroad siding through the property to access the Allegheny River.
LaPearle said docks would enable the railroad to load freight from river barges.
Russell Peterson, Carload's chief executive officer, said the railroad has no immediate plans to use the site but wanted to take advantage of the property's rail access.
“(Allegheny Valley Railroad) wanted to preserve some industrial land along the railroad for future rail users before it converted to non-rail use,” Peterson said.
“We recently had several prime rail-served parcels go to uses that could have been directed elsewhere. Rail frontage is becoming limited so we acted to protect it.”
Peterson would not comment on whether the property could have any impact on the proposed commuter rail line that would begin just north of the site in Lower Burrell and continue to Pittsburgh.
“We have no customers interested in the site yet, although we see potential to locate business there once we prepare the site,” Peterson said.
He said there won't be any major development on the property right away.
“At this point, the plans are to acquire it and get whatever permits necessary to level the surface and get a track and utilities to it,” he said. “Until a customer's needs are identified, the track will end near the entrance.”
Peterson did not disclose the cost of purchasing or upgrading the land. According to Westmoreland County deeds records, the property has not yet changed hands.
LaPearle said Keystone Rustproofing intends to remain on the almost 5 acres where the metal-finishing company's buildings stand.
Paul Gunsallus, Keystone's president, and Dan Wright, vice president, did not respond to requests for comment on how the proposed sale would impact their business, if at all.
Keystone bought the parcel in 2008 for $1 million from Burrell Industries Inc., formerly called the Ohio River Sand & Gravel Co., according to county deeds records.
The following year Keystone razed the 18-story smokestack, one of the last vestiges of St. Gobain. Two taller stacks, reportedly built in 1918 by what was then Chambers Glass Co., had been demolished in the mid-1970s.
City and county officials in the early 2000s sought grant money for the site in vain, hoping to convert it into an industrial park.
Milito said he welcomed a new use for the property.
“This has been nothing but an eyesore since I was a kid,” he said.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Kensington resident looks to transform city
- Retiring Arnold, Lower Burrell mayors look back with contrasting views
- Lower Burrell family opens home to old-fashioned Easter egg hunt
- Smaller properties in Alle-Kiski Valley remain attractive to drillers
- Aspinwall searches for new police chief
- Freshman arrested in Burrell High School bomb threat
- Man in New Kensington standoff charged
- Leadership Butler County aims to benefit community with pavilion project
- Harrison rape suspect awaiting trial accused of sexual contact with 6-year-old
- Leechburg hosts vigil to halt drugs, violence in the community
- Fawn teen wins national Patriot’s Pen essay contest