After more than a year of talks and planning, the Italian firm Pietro Fiorentini S.p.A. has signed a purchase agreement for a 17-acre parcel in Weirton's Three Springs Business Park. The 76-year-old company is currently manufacturing on a limited scale out of a leased location in Wheeling. While no timetable has been established, Fiorentini is planning a $9 million plant in Weirton. “We're excited about the opportunity to attract another international manufacturer to the Northern Panhandle,” said David Warner, executive director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority. “I believe it to be a great opportunity for them, and for the local communities there.” The plant is currently employing about 20 people at its temporary quarters in Wheeling, but that number will double when Fiorentini's new, 70,000-square foot plant opens in Weirton. Fiorentini will be manufacturing oil and gas processing units at the Weirton plant, as well as develop solutions for covering all gas processing needs in terms of filtering, separation, dehydration, heating, metering and gas control. “What's really exciting about this is that it's on the tail end of an earlier announcement of Barney's Bakery making the decision to construct its new manufacturing and distribution facility in Three Springs Business Park,” said Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle. “What our board really finds most comforting is the fact that our region has had a string of announcements over the past three years that really show a very promising future for not only the growth, but the diversification of our tax base in Brook and Hancock counties…it bodes well for our area, we're ideally situated to take advantage of economic opportunities in the foreseeable future.” While Fiorentini has been manufacturing “on a small scale” at its rental location in Wheeling, it already has some larger scale projects in mind once they get the Weirton plant up and running. Fiorentini has two sales offices in the U.S. — one in Atlanta, the other Houston — but until now, all of its manufacturing has been done overseas at seven factories in Italy, two in Europe and three in China. Founded in 1938, the company has grown 15 percent over the past 23 years. Fiorentini is headquartered in Vincenza, Italy. BDC board members Mike Wehr and John Frankovitch were on hand for the contract-signing.