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B.J. Alan makes $8M move to former Delphi Packard plant



Published: Tue, July 12, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

B.J. Alan project plan

B.J. Alan Co., known for its Phantom Fireworks, has signed a 20-year lease for part of the former Delphi Packard facility in Trumbull County and pledged to create 54 jobs with average hourly wages of $17.58 and secure 177 jobs. The $8.1 million project comprises the following sources and uses.

Project Sources

Ohio Department of Development 166 Direct Loan Program to IRG Warren I LLC which owns the Delphi Packard building and 200 acres: $1.9 million

IRG Warren contribution: $1 million

Bank loan: $5.2 million

FUNDING Uses

Purchase Delphi Packard building: $2.6 million

Renovations: $4.5 million

Site preparation: $1,035,000

Source: Ohio Controlling Board

By William K. Alcorn

alcorn@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The state has approved a $1.9 million loan that completes $8.1 million in financing for the B.J. Alan Fireworks Co. to move much of its Youngstown operation to a former Delphi Packard plant in Trumbull County.

The Ohio Controlling Board approved the loan Monday.

The majority of the fireworks company’s 250 local employees will move to the Warren warehouse when it opens, expected by the end of the year, said Bruce Zoldan, B. J. Alan chief executive officer.

B.J. Alan has about 450 employees companywide year-round, a number that swells to some 2,400 during the Fourth of July fireworks season.

Out of its new warehouse, located at Larchmont Avenue and North River Road, B.J. Alan will do wholesale distributions for three divisions: chain store customers; temporary operations, which are mainly tents and stands in Western states; and the firm’s biggest division, its chain of Phantom Fireworks retail showrooms, of which there were this year 54 in 13 states and Puerto Rico, said William A. Weimer, vice president of B.J. Alan and Phantom Fireworks.

The fireworks company isn’t completely vacating its Youngstown property at 555 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., where its principal warehouse is located, however.

Youngstown will keep the wholesale warehouse portion of the business and the Diamond Sparkler manufacturing operation. The showrooms in the city and Beaver Township will also stay, Weimer added.

Zoldan said the purchase agreement for about 1.2 million square feet of the 2.5-million-square-foot former Delphi Packard Electric property is signed, and the deal is expected to be closed by the end of August.

The purchase was by IRG Warren I LLC, a real-estate firm which buys and develops industrial properties. IRG Warren will be owned by Zoldan and his wife, Rori. B.J. Alan Co. will be a tenant and rent 640,000 square feet of the building and attempt to rent out the other half, Weimer said.

B.J. Alan will move into the northern half of the former Delphi Packard facility nearest to the state Route 82 bypass, and Delphi will retain the other half nearest to North River Road, Weimer said.

Weimer said preparation of a facility to store fireworks requires a special fire-suppression system, fireproofing and venting and exiting plans that must meet the approval of the Trumbull County Building Department, the Ohio Division of Industrial Compliance and the state fire marshal “before we swing one hammer.”

Weimer said the move was necessary because B.J. Alan had outgrown its Youngstown facility.

“In Youngstown, we have 5,000 square feet. In Warren, we will have 640,000 square feet. We will go from a primitive to a very modern facility that will allow us to consolidate headquarters under one roof,” he said.

Several years ago, B.J. Alan attempted to build a $20 million facility in Beaver Township.

But, Weimer said, residents’ resistance and inaction on a 50 percent real- estate tax abatement by Mahoning County Commissioners eventually caused the company to walk away from the project after spending $300,000-$400,000 in preparation work.

“Bruce is very, very committed to the Mahoning Valley. Another Ohio community was talking about 75 percent [tax abatement] for 15 years and a Pennsylvania community was very aggressive at the last minute when we were considering the Delphi building,” Weimer said.

“We wanted to preserve jobs. ... The only place we could find was Delphi,” he said.

Weimer said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, Trumbull County commissioners, and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber worked hard to keep B.J. Alan in the area.

“We are glad to be able to stay in the Mahoning Valley. Youngstown has been very cooperative, but we couldn’t stay in the city because it didn’t have an adequate facility,” Zoldan said.

“We are committed to the Mahoning Valley. I never forget where I come from,” he added.


Comments

1jc2011(1 comment)posted 3 years ago

Of these jobs moving to Warren, how many are union. Bruce Zoldan (B.J.ALLEN) is very active in the Democratic Party, but I bet there are NO union wharehouse workers. Are there any at the sparkler plant? Are there any at the retail stores? Maybe, just maybe, the truck drivers.

Suggest removal:

2Askmeificare(694 comments)posted 3 years ago

"Several years ago, B.J. Alan attempted to build a $20 million facility in Beaver Township."

"But, Weimer said, residents’ resistance and inaction on a 50 percent real- estate tax abatement by Mahoning County Commissioners eventually caused the company to walk away from the project after spending $300,000-$400,000 in preparation work."

What year did B.J. Alan try to build in Beaver Township? What is wrong with Mahoning County Politicians? This corporate entity should have had co operation from our politicians.

Other communities realize the signifigance of what we had-

“Bruce is very, very committed to the Mahoning Valley. Another Ohio community was talking about 75 percent [tax abatement] for 15 years and a Pennsylvania community was very aggressive at the last minute when we were considering the Delphi building,” Weimer said.

“We wanted to preserve jobs. ... The only place we could find was Delphi,” he said.

Weimer said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, Trumbull County commissioners, and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber worked hard to keep B.J. Alan in the area.

“We are glad to be able to stay in the Mahoning Valley. Youngstown has been very cooperative, but we couldn’t stay in the city because it didn’t have an adequate facility,” Zoldan said.

“We are committed to the Mahoning Valley. I never forget where I come from,” he added.

Zoldan is being very gentlemanly, but Youngstown, including U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, Trumbull County commissioners, and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber, SHOULD HAVE DONE THE JOB and kept B.J. Alan IN Youngstown.

The excuse is Youngstown didn't have an adequate facility? Really?

Well, I bought alotta excuses, but I'm not buying this one.

Best Wishes and Good Luck B.J. Alan. I'll miss you here, somewhere here, in Youngstown.

Suggest removal:

3sloppyk32(5 comments)posted 3 years ago

@ jc2011

Why do these have to be union jobs? Believe it or not, some people do not feel the need for a union because the company actually takes care of them. I know, I must be talking crazy to believe a company will actually take care of it's employees. Granted, they are probably not making some large amounts of money working in the factory, but I bet most of them are glad to be working!! I have worked both union and non-union jobs. In my opinion, there are only some jobs that need unions, not every job. Especially if a company takes care of their employees.

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4NachoCheese(161 comments)posted 3 years ago

Go figure the first nut to fall from the tree in this comments section wants to know about union jobs. People around here need to get a clue (which several other posters are demonstrating) - it is the union problems, along with the high taxes, that drove away all of these high paying jobs to begin with. Now we are forced to start over, if we're lucky, and for that it looks like at least a few hundred people should be grateful that this company is even willing to remain in the area despite the known union problem, and by finding away to at least walk away from some of the overtaxation that exists in the inadequate facilities they currently have - hats off to them!

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