The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 21, 2014

Redevelopment authority to help Dollar General, Quaker Sales

JOHNSTOWN — Two businesses with eyes on Johnstown locations had hurdles lowered by action at Tuesday’s Johnstown Redevelopment Authority meeting.

A new Dollar General proposed for the city’s Kernville neighborhood will have the opportunity to locate on a group of lots at the corner of South and Napoleon streets.

The first steps were taken toward establishing a new Johnstown base for Quaker Sales Corp.’s plant on 15 acres near Hinckston Run.

For Dollar General, a resolution was approved to buy one vacant Napoleon Street lot from Greater Johnstown Water Authority for $13,308.86, along with the deed for a smaller South Street lot the authority requested, Solicitor William G. Barbin said.

The Napoleon Street property can be merged with two other authority-owned lots and a city-owned lot to create a 0.7-acre lot for development, Barbin explained, noting that the water authority board already approved the deal.

City officials and the developer for Dollar General have negotiated a price for the entire property, but handling the sale through the redevelopment authority smoothes the process, Barbin said.

If a government body such as the city of Johnstown sells property, it must solicit bids and sell to the highest bidder. The redevelopment authority can weigh proposals, Barbin said.

“We have the power to give the property to someone other than the highest bidder,” Barbin said, explaining that the next step will be advertising a request for proposals for the use of the land.

Since the unidentified Dollar General developer has already negotiated a price, its proposal would be the front-runner. But on rare occasions, an unexpected proposal could trump the negotiated deal, he added.

The Quaker Sales interest has already advanced to the request-for-proposals stage. The authority approved advertising for proposals on 15 acres of land along Hinckston Run in the former Lower Cambria Iron Works property, also known as the Rosedale Keystone Opportunity Zone.

Quaker Sales President Don Overdorff said the asphalt production and paving company is in the early stages of finding a better location for future needs.

Its current Johnstown plant is in West Taylor Township off Cramer Pike near the redevelopment authority-owned sewage treatment plant at Dornick Point.

“We are pinned in down there,” Overdorff said. “We need more room. We are trying to get ahead of what the needs are going to be 10 years from now.”

Due to all the permits and citing issues, Overdorff said it will be “more than months” before the company moves forward on a move.

The property is part of 50 acres of former Bethlehem property originally eyed for the long-stalled Aspen Fluids Johnstown frack-water treatment plant. But there still is plenty of room for Aspen, authority leaders insist. There is also enough vacant property for JWF Industries to continue testing military vehicles in the Rosedale KOZ.

In other matters, the authority voted to raise the rent on three of its properties.

• Samuel Plate Glass Processing LLC will be paying $5,100 a month, up from $4,800, for its plant space in the former Bethlehem machine shop building on Iron Street. It is the first rent hike since 2009. Samuel Plate Processing is a joint venture of Samuel and Son Inc. of Canada and Johnstown Welding and Fabrication.

• Rent for Ideal Market on Walnut Street will go up from $5,700 to $6,000 a month with the first rent increase since 2009.

• JWF Industries’ rent for Bethlehem’s former mechanical office building is going up from $1,000 to $1,250 a month. It’s the first rent increase since 2004.

The authority also approved a $2,985,627 contract with Continental Construction of Ridgway for the Franklin Street sewer interceptor project.

The current 33-inch line from Messenger Street near Horner Street to the intersection of Vine and Franklin streets downtown will be replaced with a new 36-inch line.

Funding includes a $2.75 million PennWorks grant and a $499,375 low-interest state loan, which also will cover more replacement work in the Moxham section.

Randy Griffith covers Johnstown Redevelopment Authority for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/photogriffer57.

 

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