The Regional Industrial Development Council (R.I.D.C.) is hopeful a new 1.24 million dollar loan from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development will help move the nearly empty former Sony plant in Westmoreland County back to full capacity.
The funds come with a 1.5 percent interest rate and R.I.D.C President Don Smith said it will be used to build out another 26,000 square feet of space for Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), which wants to expand its operations.
“They are bringing another production line from Japan to Westmoreland County and… help them create additional jobs and secure the jobs they already have in the region,” said Smith who expects DNP to add “a couple dozen” new jobs.
The loan will be repaid through the rent charged to DNP.
Smith said the R.I.D.C. is in the process of dividing up the 2.8 million square foot building to allow for multi-tenant manufacturing use. The building currently also houses Advanced battery-maker Aquion Energy Inc. and will soon be home to some Community College operations.
Smith said they are in the process of a 10-year capital investment plan to upgrade the facility that already boasts on-site rail and utility access and easy entry to I-70 and I-76. The site was also recently give Keystone Opportunity Zone status, which allows companies that locate on the site to take advantage of special tax incentives.
R.I.D.C is reportedly in talks with other companies to bring “hundreds” of new jobs to the site.
It’s a tremendous facility but it does have considerable challenges in changing from a single use to a multi-user facility,” said Smith who believes it would not be possible without state assistance. The R.I.D.C. has “an aggressive” plan to update the utility drops, the roof and other systems in the building.