John K. Manna
New Castle News
NEW CASTLE —
It has been the most coveted piece of property in downtown New Castle.
Vacant for more than a year, Cascade Center at the Riverplex suddenly had two suitors in 2011: the Lawrence County Economic Development Corp. and The New Castle Center for Arts and Technology.
Both wanted more than $1 million from the city’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant to purchase the property and then develop it.
City officials ultimately began negotiating with the LCEDC, which proposed acquiring the property to provide space for employment generating businesses. However talks ended in April when the two sides disagreed on how income generated from the project should be invested.
One company the LCEDC had been negotiating with as a possible tenant was Refresh Dental of Canfield, Ohio. The city continued negotiations with Refresh Dental and reached an agreement with the firm in June to move its corporate office to the building at East Washington and Mill streets.
The city agreed to use part of the same grant and buy the property from S&T Bank for $1.25 million and then deed it over to Refresh Dental for $1.
The agreement states the company shall locate at least 25 corporate employees within one year of July 1, 2012. The company has 50 employees who are to relocate to New Castle.
Refresh Dental plans to also have a clinic and training facility at the Riverplex and seek tenants for the building’s restaurant on the second floor and a smaller one on the first floor.
Kenneth L. Cooper, Refresh’s chief executive officer, said in June that the firm planned to make up to $2 million worth of improvements and that it needed to be fully moved by Nov. 1.
However, the company has yet to move and has now set a move-in date for March or April, according to Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo.