New Castle News

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June 8, 2012

Project seen as boost for economic activity

NEW CASTLE — Refresh Dental’s Kenneth L. Cooper believes his firm’s relocation to New Castle will help spur economic activity.

The company plans to move its corporate office to the Cascade Center at the Riverplex by fall and have restaurants and retail shops in the remainder of the building.

“We think it’s an outstanding building for other businesses to consider,” said Cooper, Refresh Dental’s chief executive officer.

“I think it’s a great project that will spur economic activity and bring people downtown.”

City officials announced last week that the company had submitted a nonbinding letter of intent to relocate its corporate office from Canfield, Ohio. Thursday, city council adopted resolutions to move the process along.

Cooper said the firm has sold its Canfield facility, adding, “We need to be fully moved by Nov. 1. We have outgrown this space.”

The company has 400 full-time employees, 50 of whom are in the corporate office and will potentially relocate to the Riverplex at East Washington and Mill streets. The company expects to create 50 to 75 additional jobs at the corporate office within the next three years.

“We wanted to stay in the Mahoning Valley,” Cooper said, “But we consider New Castle to be part of the Mahoning Valley.”

He said the firm didn’t want its employees to have a long commute.

Current employees will be offered a moving stipend to relocate their families to New Castle. According to the firm, the average salary for the corporate employees is $48,000.

The company owns the dental offices it manages in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Cooper said Refresh Dental handles the real estate, accounts and all the administrative duties for the dentists.

Thus, the dentists don’t have to be bothered with any of those functions, he said.

“So dentists can be dentists.”

Plans are to have a clinic on the first floor of the Riverplex “to help serve the underprivileged in New Castle,” Cooper said. Plus, there will be a training facility on that floor.

The corporate office will occupy the second, third and fourth floors, which will have to be renovated.

“So we’ll invest a couple million dollars in the facility.”

The first floor near the Washington Street side of the building also will have space available for retail.

The building has about 15,000 square feet of space for a restaurant on the second floor and bar on the first floor facing the Neshannock Creek. A restaurant and sports bar previously occupied those two spaces.

Cooper said Refresh Dental has received interest from businesses for the restaurant and bar sections.

As for the retail area, the firm may hire someone to market the building, although Cooper noted he has experience in developing real estate projects.

Drs. Andrew Matta and Chad Wise, both New Castle natives, also are founders and partners in Refresh Dental. Scott Crews, chief operating officer, and Todd Hubert, chief financial officer, are the other partners.

Matta and Wise, who are also the founders and majority owners of Professional Dental Alliance, will oversee the training facility.

Matta said the training will essentially involve continuing education for dentists.

Cooper explained Matta and Wise run the professional side of the business through Professional Dental Alliance, which has a 40-year agreement with Refresh Dental.

Matta said Dr. George Watters of New Castle recently joined as a partner on the professional side.

Regarding the Riverplex, Matta said, “It’s a fantastic facility. It tends to suit us very well.

“Being a native of New Castle, it would be fantastic to bring business downtown.”

“The city has been very supportive of our project.”

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

 

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