Pennsylvania is Turning Brownfields into Green Investments
Governor Edward Rendell is using creative initiatives and incentives to attract green energy companies and clean up brownfields, increasing investment and new jobs.
Pennsylvania’s efforts to attract solar energy manufacturers to the state and create green-collar jobs recently took a major step forward, according to a report from Gov. Edward G. Rendell.
Under new guidelines approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, Pennsylvania businesses, economic development organizations and political subdivisions now can apply for a share of a new $80-million program for solar energy. The program is designed to advance projects that generate and use solar energy, or that manufacture and assemble solar equipment.
The new program is a component of the $650-million Alternative Energy Investment Fund that Rendell signed into law in July 2008. The fund is expected to create at least 10,000 new jobs and attract more than $3.5 billion in private investment to Pennsylvania.
Other Alternative Energy Investment Fund programs are in development. From the $650-million fund, $500 million will be bond financing provided through the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
In addition to solar-energy generation and equipment-manufacturing projects, research and development facilities also are eligible for funding under the new guidelines. Applicants must provide evidence of at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 of program funds awarded by the commonwealth. Solar-energy generation or distribution projects and solar R&D facilities are eligible for loans of up to $5 million or grants of up to $1 million. Companies that manufacture solar components for renewable-energy generation equipment may receive loans of up to $35,000 for every new job they anticipate creating within three years after being approved; they may receive grants of up to $5,000 for each new job created. The CFA also is making available guarantees of up to $5 million.
• Population (2007): 12,448,279
• Largest Cities (2007): Philadelphia, 1,449,634; Pittsburgh, 312,819; Allentown, 106,632; Erie, 103,717; Reading, 81,207
• Targeted Industries: Advanced materials and diversified manufacturing, business and financial services, life sciences, high technology, alternative energy, agriculture and food productionrn
• Key Incentives: Business in Our Sites Program (BOS), Infrastructure Facilities Improvement Grant Program (IFIP), New Pennsylvania Venture Capital Investment Program, Export Finance Program
Rendell’s green strategy for Pennsylvania also focuses on cleaning up brownfield sites around the state. Several brownfield sites in southwestern Pennsylvania will enjoy a rebirth with a $6 million state investment.
The Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern PA (RIDC) will use the money to address the economic development needs of brownfield communities through the construction of single- and/or multi-tenant building projects for industrial, flex, and research and development-based companies located in Allegheny County.
The $6 million loan, approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority through the state’s Building PA fund—a real estate component of Governor Rendell’s original economic stimulus program—will provide important mezzanine financing for eligible projects. That financing will help grow and diversify the regional economy.
Some of the targeted investment projects include Keystone Commons, Industrial Center of McKeesport, City Center of Duquesne, Lawrenceville Tech Center and the LV Hazelwood site.
PROJECTS CREATE 640 JOBS
The governor announced in June that nine projects creating 640 jobs in Pennsylvania are receiving support in the form of low-interest loans from the commonwealth. The loans will leverage more than $30 million in private sector funding and advance projects in Allegheny, Berks, Cumberland, Erie, Lehigh, Mifflin, Philadelphia, and Washington counties.
The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority provides capital for infrastructure acquisition, creation and renovation projects, primarily for manufacturers, industrial developers, research and development firms, agricultural processors and employers looking to establish national or regional headquarters in Pennsylvania.
Allegheny County: RIDC of Southwestern Pennsylvania will receive a $1.9 million loan to renovate the former Geoffrey Boehm Chocolate Co. building, which is located on a redeveloped brownfield site in Pittsburgh. RIDC plans to lease the remaining space in the two-story building to four new eligible PIDA tenants. The total cost of the project is $4.7 million.
Berks County: MRD Lumber Co. Inc. will receive a $1.8 million loan to construct a new 87,070-square-foot building in Bethel Township. The $4.5 million project, sponsored by the Greater Berks Development Fund, is expected to retain 28 employees and create 24 jobs within the next three years.
Cumberland County: Enginuity LLC, which designs and custom manufactures ductwork for HVAC systems, will receive a $288,100 loan to acquire and renovate an unoccupied building in Hampden Township, Mechanicsburg. The $960,458 project will retain 66 employees and create eight additional jobs.
Erie County: Great Lakes Automation Services Inc., which manufactures automated assembly and test equipment will receive a $360,000 loan to acquire and renovate an unoccupied, 27,325-square-foot building in McKean Township. The $938,000 project will result in the company relocating its 27 existing employees to the newly renovated facility.
Accuride Erie LP, which manufactures forged aluminum wheels, will receive a $1.2 million loan to renovate its existing 412,985-square-foot facility in Erie and relocate its machining and polishing operation from a plant in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The loan is a component of a $3 million Governor’s Action Team funding package. The company, which has 2,900 employees worldwide, will retain 167 jobs and create an additional 103 jobs.
Lehigh County: Gillespie Printing Inc. will receive a $330,000 loan to acquire and renovate an existing 27,325-square-foot building in Hanover Township. The $825,000 project will result in the company relocating its 18 existing employees to the newly renovated facility.
Mifflin County: First Quality Baby Products LLC, which manufactures baby diapers, will receive a $2.3 million loan to construct a new, 1-million-square-foot facility in Granville Township to house the company’s manufacturing operation. The loan is a component of a $9.7 million Governor’s Action Team funding package. The project is expected to create about 500 jobs.
Philadelphia County: Steven F. Kempf Building Material Co., which distributes commercial construction materials, will receive a $1.5 million loan to acquire and renovate two existing buildings in Philadelphia. The $3.7 million project will retain 47 employees and create an additional five jobs.
Washington County: Washington County Industrial Development Corp. will receive a $561,012 loan to construct a multi-occupancy, 28,800-square-foot building in the Starpointe Business Park.
PHILADELPHIA REGIONAL PORT AUTHORITY OPENS NEW FTZ
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) and 5K Logistics, Inc. recently announced the opening of a new General Purpose Foreign Trade Zone serving the Greater Philadelphia area. The facility is now open in Bensalem, PA, on Interstate 95, just minutes north of the Port of Philadelphia. PRPA is the Grantee of Foreign Trade Zone #35 and 5K Logistics, Inc. is a full-service logistics provider to the goods-movement industry.
The Foreign Trade Zone Program is a US Federal government initiative to promote US manufacturing. It creates a special area on US territory, outside US Customs jurisdiction, giving businesses a way to reduce or delay customs duties and to facilitate quota limits. General Purpose FTZ status can assist small and mid-sized companies with services such as specialized processing, export packing, and labeling.
With PRPA facilitating the application process, approval for the FTZ was recently granted to 5K Logistics by US Customs and Border Protection and the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones. The new facility is located in an 80,000 square foot warehouse owned by 5K Logistics. Delaware Valley manufacturers can now benefit from this addition to 5K Logistics’ services, which can save companies substantial costs on customs duties and improve logistics chains.