State offers funding for glass plant project

The state Department of Community and Economic Development has provided $300,000 in additional funding toward continuing efforts to renovate the former Lenox Crystal glass-manufacturing plant.

"We went back to the state and said we'd really like to finish the project in the right way," said Larry J. Larese, executive director of Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. "They like the project. They supported it from day one."

The additional money was announced during a WCIDC meeting on Thursday.

After the Lenox Crystal plant ceased operations in January 2002, WCIDC and the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland teamed to buy the property three months later for $1.6 million. The plant is now known as the Mt. Pleasant Glass Centre, which opened in October 2002.

About 100,000 square feet of the 153,000-square-foot building has been renovated, Larese said. Several glass retailers and a paper business occupy the renovated area.

Larese said several potential tenants have expressed interest, but he declined to name them.

"We will probably be negotiating with them over the next six to eight weeks," he said.

The Glass Centre received an $800,000 state grant for renovations last year. Some of that money went toward a new roof. Even with the additional state money, Larese said the WCIDC may need to spend between $300,000 and $400,000 of its own money to finish the project.

Refurbishing projects for the 53,000-square-foot section may be finished during the next several months, Larese said.

"Depending on the weather, these could all be done by January," he said.

600450 State offers funding for glass plant project
Date: 13 September 2005

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