Ground broken for new business park in Chester, WV

Construction officially began June 23 on a 30,000 square foot industrial building to anchor the new Rock Springs Business Park in Chester, WV. Federal, state and local leaders gathered to break ground at the 8.5 acre site, once home to the Taylor, Smith & Taylor Pottery. “This development will transform a once abandoned pottery factory site into a job-creator for Hancock County and the Ohio River Valley,” Hancock County Commissioner Mike Swartzmiller said. “The business park will also add much needed building inventory to our region to accommodate the economic growth in energy, transportation, and value-added metals.” The property, a brownfields site, is owned by the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle. The organization has been able to drum up nearly $3.3 million in loans and grant funding for the acquisition, site cleanup and redevelopment. The West Virginia Economic Development Authority and United Bank are financing construction of the building. BDC Executive Director Pat Ford said no tenant has been announced, but energy, chemical and value-added steel fabrication companies have shown interest in the site. He said a final decision is “probably still about three months off.” In the meantime, he said they anticipate adding another 70,000-square foot building down the road. David Warner, executive director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, said the business park “is very important to the continued development of Brooke and Hancock counties.” “It takes a group effort to accomplish things like this and plant the seeds for future development,” he added. Ford said the site represents a $3.3 million investment for site acquisition, cleanup and redevelopment, pointing out they benefited from loans of $2 million from WVEDA and $500,000 from Hancock County Commissioners, plus grants of roughly $600,000 from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other grants from Benedum Foundation, Northern West  Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center and the Brooke Hancock Regional Council. BDC Chairman William D'Alesio said it's the right time to construct the business park, given “the announcements of the two ethane crackers in Pennsylvania and Ohio.” “The Chester location, for the BDC’s third business park, is ideally situated within close proximity to Royal Dutch Shell’s ethane cracker plant, the Pittsburgh International Airport and our region’s primary transportation corridors,” D'Alesio said in a prepared statement.