Story by NEWS 9/WTOV9.COM our news partner
Eleven-hundred acres of former Weirton Steel property has been sold.
The announcement was made Wednesday morning by the Frontier Group of Companies, which made the purchase.
It’s a move that will have a big impact on the city of Weirton -- and beyond.
“I think it's extremely important for our future looking at jobs and development,” Weirton City Manager Travis Blosser said. “Having Pietro Fiorentini and now this, it's all good things for Weirton and that's good for the Ohio Valley as well."
“This has to be the single largest catalytic real estate transaction in Weirton, probably since the announcement that they would build this mill here,” said Pat Ford, executive director of the BDC of the Northern Panhandle. “Just visualize what the mill has done for this community and take that same real-estate footprint and imagine what could be here, particularly when you look at how we been able diversify our economy. The opportunities are endless.”
The Frontier Group of Companies is the same group that flipped the facility in Mingo Junction, so it has a history of success in the Ohio Valley.
“We believe the Weirton facility, like other industrial sites we have redeveloped, has tremendous attributes and potential,” said David P. Franjoine, president of the Frontier Group of Companies. “Throughout our due diligence, and as we worked with ArcelorMittal on the details of this transaction, we have been energized by the how well the site fits our expertise.”
The 1,100 acres includes the BOP Shop and related structures, miscellaneous other plant structures and the Blast Furnace and Ore Yard area. The purchase also included rail sidings, barge loading/unloading areas and Brown’s Island. Terms were not disclosed.
Company officials say the Weirton facility has tremendous attributes and potential.
“Our history at Mingo Junction, and how we were successfully able to repurpose an idle industrial site, is an example of how we approach our work,” Franjoine said. “Now that we have completed our acquisition in Weirton, we will immediately get to work on identifying what future development and re-use possibilities exist.”
USW officials are thrilled, but they believe the purchase will mean more for the community than the union.
“Obviously it's a significant transaction. We would've loved to see you steel making here in Weirton, West Virginia for another hundred years, but that was not in the cards," said Mark Glyptis, president USW 2911. "Our mill actually is obsolete in comparison to the newer mills that have been built around the world, including the mini-mills.”
And, finally, John Brett, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, said they were happy to have found "a purchaser with extensive experience in redeveloping a former heavy industrial site into a more productive location that benefits the city and region."
Headquartered in Buffalo, NY, the Frontier Group of Companies and its subsidiaries has completed an extensive portfolio of industrial, development, energy, mixed-use, commercial and residential projects throughout the United States, North America and South America.