By Keith Gushard
A $1.25 million state grant will breathe new life into a building at Titusville Opportunity Park and help two Titusville businesses expand their operations.
The Pennsylvania First Grant will be used to renovate an 85,000-square-foot building at the industrial park into six modern industrial spaces for light to medium manufacturing, adding 80 jobs within the next five years, according to Jim Becker, executive director of the Titusville Redevelopment Authority.
Titusville Opportunity Park is a business park on the east side of Titusville on the site of the former Armco Steel Co.’s Cytemp Division. It has 206 acres, including approximately 670,000 square feet among a variety of industrial buildings. It currently is home to 25 different businesses and offices, employing 275, Becker said.
“It really is a great story of reemergence with our industries of the past providing us with the foundation to support the industries of today,” said C. Alan Walker, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, on Tuesday at grant presentation ceremonies at the industrial park. “If we fail to continue to improve and reinvent, others will pass us by.”
Two of the spaces, approximately 20,000 square feet in total, already have commitments from two existing Titusville Opportunity Park firms planning expansions, Becker said.
Roser Technologies Inc., which provides maintenance services to steel manufacturers, is adding additional capacity, Becker said. Roser designs, makes and refurbishes caster molds, segment components and other parts used in manufacturing steel.
“Business is strong right now in the U.S. steel industry,” said Jack Roser, chief financial officer of Roser Technologies. “It has stabilized the last few years to where the growth period is here. The indication is it will be a strong 10 years of retooling, regrouping and have more output, making them more competitive on the world market.”
Roser Technologies has about 70 employees now, according to Dan Roser, the firm’s president and Jack Roser’s uncle. Roser Technologies expects to add 20 to 30 employees during the next 24 to 30 months.
AlturnaMATS, a maker of ground-protection mats, is adding space for a recycling center to create raw material for manufacturing the mats, Becker said. AlturnaMATS is in construction, drilling, golf courses, utilities, landscaping, tree care and other industries.
While there are no commitments for the other four spaces, Titusville Redevelopment Authority has been talking with a number of firms — both in and outside the area, Becker said.
Work on readying the building is set to begin later this spring, Becker said.
“We’re in the design phase and will put it out to construction bid in four to six weeks and then we’re off and running,” Becker said with a smile. Completion of the renovations are expected by the middle to late fall with occupancy to start in late 2014 or early 2015, he said.
“We’re dividing the space along the crane rails,” Becker said. “The building is fundamentally sound with overhead cranes. One has a 20-ton (crane) capacity; there are several with 10-ton capacity and two 5-ton sites.”
Walker commended Becker and the Titusville Redevelopment Authority on the effort.
“They’re very smart on how they’ve done it,” Walker said of the project. “The site is close to the Utica and Marcellus shale developments and a lot of businesses in the natural gas industries will be looking for sites like this.”
Titusville Opportunity Park has had a total of approximately $20 million in investment since the project initially was started in 2000 by the late J. Michael Allyn, who was Titusville Redevelopment Authority’s executive director at the time, Becker said.