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SHARON, PA. State OKs project's deadline extension



Published: Tue, July 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The project has until mid-May to submit a formal application for the funds, according to state officials.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- The state has granted an extension to the deadline for filing an application for a $7 million grant to assist in the redevelopment of the former Westinghouse Electric Corp. plant on Sharpsville Avenue.

Winner Development LLC, owned by Sharon businessman James E. Winner Jr., has purchased the old mill and has plans for a project in the range of $60 million to $70 million.

The Mercer County Industrial Development Authority is assisting in filing the application for the $7 million in capital budget funds and had said the state Office of the Budget had set Monday as the deadline for filing the formal paperwork.

Larry Reichard, executive director of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., the MCIDA's administrative arm, said Monday the deadline has been extended until at least mid-July.

There is not a specific cutoff date at this point but MCIDA hopes to get the documentation in the state's hands by July 15, Reichard said.

Delays: There were some delays in getting the appropriate financial and engineering data from Winner Development but most of that has been received and the application can move forward, he said.

Al Dombrowski, chief operating officer for Winner Holdings, confirmed the application is ready to move forward.

There was some confusion about the size of the project, with the state saying the project had to be more than $60 million if it was to receive the $7 million grant earmarked in the capital budget.

MCIDA officials said it appeared at one point that Winner Development had scaled the project back to just over $14 million and the state was balking at providing $7 million for a project that small.

Dombrowski said the scope of the project was never scaled back but there was apparently some confusion over the time period in which the money will be spent.

"This is probably a five-year project," he said, adding that, if anything, the final cost will be probably be higher than the original estimates.

Included in project: The project includes expanding Winner Steel Services Inc. at the southern end of the former Westinghouse property, renovation of the former main Westinghouse factory building and renovation of a large office building on the site.

In a related matter, Reichard said a $1.25 million state Infrastructure Development Program grant given to MCIDA to help with the project will become a 2-percent loan to Winner Development.

Work is still being completed on the documentation needed for that loan, he said.




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