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These stories by Peter J. Mladineo and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 12, 1998. All rights reserved.
Wheels of Industry, Trenton Style
Trenton's industrial building renaissance has taken one step forward and one step back.
One old industrial building, the 1.1 million-square-foot General Motors Plant on Parkway Avenue in Ewing, just outside the city, will apparently be saved from the wrecking ball. It was opened in June of 1938, and was used to make Grumman Avenger planes during World War II. This June, almost 60 years to the day it was opened, GM closed the plant and marked it for demolition. GM initially gave the plant a life expectancy of 50 years and planned to raze it and market it as an open piece of real estate.
Enter Universal Process Equipment, now based at 1180 Route 130 South. This company wants to buy the building and move its headquarters there, consolidating operations in Washington Township, Easton, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. For UPE, which buys, sells, and refurbishes anything from old industrial equipment to whole plants, this deal makes sense. "It certainly needs a lot of work, but we think we could make it work for us very nicely," says Harold Bogatz, UPE's general counsel.
For UPE, the property would be a double bonus. The plant is just around the corner from Trenton-Mercer Airport and within the Mercer County Foreign Trade Zone, which would give it reduced duties. "It's well-located, geographically close to the interstate, close to the airport, and it's a much larger facility than ours," says Bogatz. GM characterizes this as a "serious" offer and reports that a deal could be hammered out within the next two months. "I would hope in the next 30 or 45 days we get this resolved one way or another," says Bogatz.
Even if UPE doesn't buy the building, there are several suitors interested in the plot -- Jessup Road Associates and the Rockefeller Group Development Corp.
Meanwhile, the Route 1 Industrial Center in Trenton has experienced a sharp disappointment after Pennington Metals, the steel manufacturer that moved into Trenton's 46,000-square-foot Muirhead Street building -- the first new manufacturing facility constructed in the city in more than 40 years -- was evicted by the city. All told, Pennington Metals owes the city $536,000 in back rent, and declared bankruptcy the day after it was served an eviction notice by county sheriff's officers. The city also alleges that it passed along an $80,000 uncollectable check.
Built in the '90s to spur economic development in Trenton, the building acquired Pennington Metals as a tenant in 1995. Now the city is feeling somewhat miffed. Alan Mallach, Trenton's housing and development director, was downright angry when he talked to reporters last month. "My personal belief is that they truly believed that because the landlord is the City of Trenton and not a private property owner, that they could essentially not pay rent with impunity," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, the Hill Refrigeration complex is getting a new shine to it. S&S Industrial Supply, a supplier of equipment for the utility industry, closed its 9A South Gold Drive facility and has fully moved into the rehabbed complex.
When it's done, predicts George Schnebel, a partner in the firm, the Hill Refrigeration project will be "a showplace for the city. As a central hub, it's terrific. There is easy access. We're enthused to be in Trenton, it's coming around."
Touting treatments for hair loss, problem nails, hair straighteners, and exfoliating agents, Carol Buck has launched her new company, Xenna Corporation at 33 Witherspoon Street.
Alphagraphics more than doubled its size, moving to 13,000 square feet at 12 Stults Road from 4095 Route 1.
Beckhill Doors, distributor of Republic Doors & Frames, moved from 821 Route 130 South to 1540 South Olden Avenue in Hamilton.
The outplacement center moved out of Windsor Center drive, and is now operating in the old cafeteria of the main plant.
The utility, CAM, and real estate auditors moved to a different suite in Research Park.
The Internet service provider and Web hosting firm move from 11 Deer Park Drive to HQ in Forrestal Village.
The professional association of optometrists moved from 652 Whitehead Road.
Andrew and Veronica Burriesci closed their sports memorabilia shop at 20 Nassau Street and moved the operation to Queens. The new number is 516-437-6381.
Altered Image moved from 6,000 square feet at 7 Deer Park Drive to 356 Main Street, Matawan, 07747. The new phone and fax are 732-203-2300 and 732-203-2138. The firm specialized in designing and producing business meetings and corporate presentations, non-linear digital video, instructional design, Web pages design and interactive CD-ROMs.
The world's largest maker of scales and balances has moved its American operation to Columbia, Ohio. Founded in 1954 as the U.S. headquarters of a Swiss firm, it merged with Toledo Scale in 1989 and went public in November.
The real estate firm of Stephen Segal sold the property (a 38,435 foot two-story office building, a 11,065 warehouse, set on 27 acres) to a Greek pharmaceutical firm, Lavipharm (U.S. 1, 7-15-98). Two-thirds of Mettler's 60 workers have taken a severance package.
The translation service (also known as MLGS) is moving to Philadelphia.
Alan Jacobowitz is the new head of MIS operations to oversee 15 technology hubs throughout the state and develop an internal technology plan. An alumnus of Rider, he had been systems administrator and webmaster at the state Department of Transportation.
Nancy Thomson succeeds Melinda Green as executive director of the private, non-profit child care resource and referral agency. A graduate of Trenton State with a master's in special education, Thomson worked at Trenton's Head Start program and moved to CCC 11 years ago to be director of resource development and training; she registered family child care providers, administered the child care food program, and developed a training and educational division that serves as a national model.
The 12-year-old agency has 30 staff members in 6,000 square feet plus a satellite office in Somerville and on-site personnel based at the county board of social services and offices in Ewing and Edison. Green is now national director of the African-American Early Childhood Resource Center, a division of the National Black Child Institute in Washington, D.C.
The Trenton-based newspaper publisher completed its acquisition of several Goodson Newspaper Group publications for $300 million. Journal Register Co., which owns 24 dailies including the Trentonian, purchased five new dailies and 20 non-daily publications in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. Papers included in this transaction: the Delaware County Times, the Pottstown Mercury, and the Main Line Times -- all in the greater Philadelphia area.
Paul W. DeBaylo has been elected vice-chair of this statewide volunteer organization, and Edwin S. Schecter of Total Quality Resources in Lawrenceville is the new treasurer. Schecter was a founder of the organization and was on the original Malcolm Baldrige examining committee.
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