New Castle News

November 16, 2012

Council approves purchase of downtown buildings

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The city of New Castle plans to buy three buildings near the downtown and transfer them to a local firm.

The empty buildings, located in the vicinity of White and Grove streets, would be transferred to Horizon Supply Co. The firm is currently located on South Mill Street.

City council approved a resolution on Wednesday to use money remaining from a state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant for the purchase, estimated a t$130,000.

The state Department of Community and Economic Development must give formal approval.

According to Tammi Gibson, the city’s community and economic development director, Horizon Supply Co. plans to move into the three buildings.

George Joseph, one of the company’s three owners, said Horizon sells supplies mainly to gas pipeline companies drilling for Marcellus Shale.

“We’re real excited,” he said of the proposed move.

“We’re all from the city,” he said, adding that he and the other owners wanted to relocate within the city limits.

The company has two part-time drivers in addition to the owners, he said. Joseph said more people will be hired, but he won’t know the number until the state gives its approval.

Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo called the expenditure of the grant funds to buy the buildings as “a good use of the money.”

The city, he said, is trying “to encourage people to keep their business in town.”

Other money from the grant will be used for demolition and construction of a parking lot at the corner of East Washington Street and Apple Way, and for excavation and rebuilding of a parking lot at the southwest corner of East Washington and Mercer streets.

The total cost for both is approximately $270,000. The state must also approve these two projects.

The Apple Way lot was the scene of a fire last summer that destroyed the former Black Whale and damaged Pat’s Cameras. Both buildings were demolished.

An adjacent building that housed Lovelight Boutique and Yoga Studio, owned by Dale Perelman and Gary Bruce, sustained smoke and water damage.

Mastrangelo said the owner of the Black Whale property plan to give the land to the city in lieu of the city’s cost for demolition. He said the city is waiting to hear from the owners of the Pat’s Cameras property to see whether they will agree to the same terms.

The mayor said the remaining building is expected to be demolished because of the extent of damage. Perelman, he said, plans to give the property to the city and relocate the business in the downtown.

The city originally received a $5 million grant for downtown improvements. Gibson said the money for all three projects had originally been budgeted for improvements to Kennedy Square.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)