Economic development focus of Manchin's visit to Valley
Updated: Friday, November 8 2013, 03:19 PM EST
By: NEWS9 and Philip Stahl
WHEELING, W.Va. --
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin visited the area Friday to discuss the economy, meet with local residents and take part in an announcement for a multimillion-dollar investment in the Northern Panhandle.
At the former Wheeling Corrugating Plant, Manchin recognized the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and Hackman Capital for a partnership that's resulted in $12 million in investments in the panhandle.
"It was an honor to visit Beech Bottom the same day that the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and Hackman Capital announced an explosive investment that will restore dozens of good-paying jobs and boost economic development in the region," Manchin said in a news release from the BDC.
"I thank all the parties involved for believing in the hardworking people of the Northern Panhandle and envisioning a prosperous future for our steel industry. This is a prime example of how public-private partnerships can strengthen an entire community and I look forward to closely following the forthcoming growth in Beech Bottom," Manchin said.
The partnership between the BDC and Los Angeles-based Hackman Capital allows the BDC to retain the 480,000-square-foot plant and more than 600 acres surrounding the plant, which the BDC is using to recruit industries to the site.
One of those business, Jupiter Aluminum, "contributed significantly to the revival of the plant by purchasing the paint line," the BDC said it its release, adding that the paint line is now valued at more than $1 million and was once of part of RG Steel's Wheeling Corrugating division.
Jupiter Aluminum is headquartered in Illinois and has plants in Indiana. The company had originally intended to relocate the paint line, but officials said it made more economic sense to keep the line in Beech Bottom.
"Repurposing the old paint line in the former Wheeling Corrugating Plant effectively leverages and ideal combination of former mill workers, traditional workers in the aluminum and steel coating industry and the proven Jupiter Aluminum production system," said Bill D'Alesio, chairman of the board of the BDC.
Hackman bought the former Wheeling Corrugating out of bankruptcy for $4.4 million and sold it to the BDC for $200,000. The BDC kept the rights to the land for economic development purposes, including industry recruitment and development, and Hackman Capital retained the equipment and building.
Manchin started Friday in the Northern Panhandle at Vito's in Follansbee, where he hosted his "Coffee and Common Sense" tour.
By noon, he was discussing the national economy and importance of energy independence at River City in Wheeling.
While at River City, the senator spoke to the Chamber of Commerce about economic development, manufacturing and the need to limit federal regulations that he said kill good-paying jobs and cap economic prosperity.
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