BDC buys former Follansbee Steel site

FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. — A place that meant jobs in the past will mean jobs again one day soon.The former Follansbee Steel site has been idle for years, but now it has a new owner and new possibilities. The Business Development Corporation closed on it yesterday.The site is one of only two remaining sites on the market from Wheeling to Chester that has rail access, so it was crucial for the BDC to scoop it up.“Once it's ready to go, we'll have people knocking on our doors trying to relocate here,” said Bill D’Alesio, BDC chairman.Rail, river and highway access: the former Follansbee Steel property has it all. The BDC bought it from the Berkman Company for an undisclosed amount and will work to repurpose the land.“It's historically been an employment generator. Follansbee has been an employment generator and we're just so fortunate to be in a position that we can make it an employment generator again,” said Pat Ford, BDC executive director.The West Virginia Economic Development Authority loaned the BDC $1.3 million for the purchase. The Brownfields Assistance Center gave a $12,500 grant to help with closing costs.“We're so grateful for the BDC and the work that they've done. The governor's office and the development office down in Charleston, it just shows working together what can happen,” said Tim Ennis, president of the Brooke County commission.“It'll mean employment. It'll mean taxes. It'll mean people being able to work. It means children, grandchildren being able to stay in Brooke County and living here and working here,” D’Alesio said.“This 25-acre plot here, for 100 years has employed our residents and been very good to the city and to the county. It's time for something new,” said Jim Andreozzi.Removing contaminates from the soil and other clean-up will take about 12 to 18 months. Then it's sale time, but the BDC will begin marketing it right away.