SPRING TOWNSHIP — High-ranking officials from Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration toured the Titan Energy Park on Wednesday as part of an effort to market the refurbished facility to new industries.
Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker and members of the Governor’s Action Team, which handles requests from out-of- state companies looking to locate in Pennsylvania, walked through the five massive buildings on Axemann Road that formerly housed the Titan, Cerro and Bolton metals companies.
“My goal is to be part of an effort to reindustrialize Pennsylvania, and this would be a perfect example of how we can do it,” Walker said.
The tour was part of a pitch by the facility owners to local and state officials to push for help in marketing the facility. A handout given to officials asked them to consider designating it a Keystone Opportunity Zone — a tax incentive program designed for properties once considered brownfields — or adding local or state incentives to sweeten the deal for potential tenants.
A group of investors, including local companies Shaner Capital LP and G.M. McCrossin, purchased the 173-acre site in February for $1.5 million. The group, called Navitus, has spent tens of thousands more cleaning up the site, readying it to be leased.
“This facility offers a lot, between the water, electric and the gas, and being so close to Penn State,” said Navitus partner Joe Leahey. “It seems like a perfect fit and a draw for business of all types, and we’re particularly hoping manufacturing could move back into the area.”
The facility should be fully ready for occupation in a month or two, Leahey said. A project to create an intermodal rail line attached to the Nittany and Bald Eagle Railroad will take longer than that, he said, but should give businesses even more incentive to take a serious look at the space.
It took the group of officials, which also included representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection, a member of state Sen. Jake Corman’s staff and state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, nearly half an hour to walk through the cavernous, 315,000-square-foot main warehouse.
“I remember when it was a primary location for brass — the largest facility in the world for brass at one time,” Walker said after the tour. “It’s still in good shape and I’m glad a group came together that’s trying to save it and diversify and find some new uses for the building.”
Navitus has already signed on three new tenants and has handled numerous other inquiries, including one that would install batting cages for residents to practice their baseball or softball swings into one of the warehouses, Leahey said. But the key to filling the entire space, he said, is bringing on an anchor tenant.
“It’s tough because there’s not a whole lot of people looking for this type of square footage,” he said. “We’re not the only facility around. It’s our challenge to get some anchor customers and keep them in here.”
Cliff White can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @CliffWhiteNews