LACKAWANNA, N.Y. — For decades the site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant was an eyesore along Route 5 and the lakeshore in Lackawanna. That is ever since the steel firm and its 35,000 jobs moved to Burns Harbor, Indiana in the mid 1980s.
But now it's been cleaned up as a former Brownfield with new utilities and a new access road called Dona Street.
You can obviously notice all the new construction on the site of the newly named Renaissance Commerce Park. Right out in front is a new warehouse, and a manufacturing center that is now being built.
The Commerce Park is developed by Erie County Industrial Development Agency and its partners. It is making use of about 240 acres of the old steel plant site, right on the lakeshore side.
John Cappellino is the President and CEO of ECIDA. He said "our target is to have warehousing and light advanced manufacturing. There might be some heavier industrial use in the back of the property."
TRS Packaging, a division of TMP technologies, is one company that has been lured here to move from their Dingens Street site in Buffalo. Now they are in a new more spacious $22 million facility.
The 130 employees process and package the Magic Eraser cleaning product you see on store shelves.
County officials say they considered moving to Ohio, but then agreed to relocate to Lackawanna after remediation of the land and economic incentives.
And the hope is other companies will follow with this location near the Peace Bridge, Route 5, and the Thruway nearby. Other companies, such as Welded Tube and Sucro, have already come to the site.
Cappellino says in the last few years we've seen more companies willing to consider these kinds of sites again for warehousing and advance manufacturing.
This Renaissance Commerce Park is also seen as a favorite pet project of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who is originally from Lackawanna.