Growth seen in Three Springs Business Park

WEIRTON – Signs of growth continue to show in the Three Springs Business Park, as work recently began on expansion projects for two area businesses. Earth began moving in recent weeks in the business park on properties which will be the future homes of an expanded Barney's Bakery and a new site for Brownlee Trucking, according to Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle. The BDC oversees development of the business park, much of which is owned by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority. Article Photos Construction has begun on a new site for Brownlee Trucking, the Washington County, Pa., business, which also has operations in Beech Bottom. The project is among those currently going on in Weirton's Three Springs Business Park. — Craig Howell       “It's just exciting to see shovels in the ground there,” Ford said. Brownlee Trucking is based in Washington County, Pa., and also has operations in Beech Bottom. It is a specialized carrier in operation since 1981, and hauls to 49 states and Canada. Barney's Bakery will be moving from its current Pennsylvania Avenue location in Weirton to a new 5.2 acre site in the business park as part of a $2 million project. Ford explained the locally owned business has been growing in recent years, with additional retail outlets – including some national chains – beginning to sell their products. The expansion will preserve 25 existing jobs and create 10 new positions, according to Ford, who explained the business may have gone elsewhere if an arrangement wasn't made. “If we didn't step up and find a location, we were probably going to lose it,” Ford noted. While the Three Springs Business Park still has some room for growth, Ford said the state-owned land in the area is spoken for. Remaining land is in the hands of private owners. “This, in effect, has locked up all of the property in the park owned by the EDA,” he said. The BDC primarily has been focused on areas of business such as natural gas, hospitality, light manufacturing and office space, with some retail outlets also on their scopes. Ford explained Weirton's proximity to the Pittsburgh International Airport, and access to highway, river transportation and rail is a big selling point for the area when speaking to businesses. “It's really making the immediate Weirton area attractive,” Ford said, but noted the lack of available developable land has been an obstacle. He explained much of the progress in the business park was spurred by an arrangement a few years ago between the EDA, Lauttamus Investments and Frank Brownlee, president of Brownlee Trucking, which allowed for an $8 million expansion of the rue21 Distribution Center. “This one real estate transaction paved the way for what you're seeing right now,” he said. In addition to the Barney's Bakery and Brownlee Trucking projects, Pietro Fiorentini still holds an option on a 17-acre plot, with plans to build a $10 million facility and create approximately 41 jobs with an average yearly pay of $50,000. Ford explained the Italian company also has discussed two other phases, which could create more than 100 additional jobs.

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