Bankruptcy judge approves sale of former Packard Electric buildings to AutoParkit

By Ed Runyan


It took three years, but Warren native Chris Alan finally has the former Packard Electric properties on Dana Street he needs to run his AutoParkit automated parking company.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kay Woods of the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Youngstown on Tuesday approved the sale of 21 acres of the former Packard facilities on either side of Dana Street to a holding company owned by Alan for $150,000.

Alan’s company also will pay the about $250,000 in real estate and city taxes and fines owed on the former Maximus III-owned property. Alan says the total cost is about $800,000 plus attorneys fees.

Alan signed a purchase agreement in September 2015 to buy the facilities from its former owner, Sergio DiPaolo of Maximus III Properties, but negotiations broke down and Alan had to wait to acquire it through bankruptcy.

Adding the former Packard buildings to the two former General Electric buildings he owns on Dana totals 30 acres and 380,000 square feet of industrial space.

Environmental cleanup and construction of the manufacturing buildings DiPaolo partially scrapped is likely to begin by October and put the startup of Alan’s distribution center by the end of 2019.

The environmental cleanup will cost about $2.1 million.

His plans also include turning the 120,000-square-foot former Packard Electric World Headquarters office building on Dana into an AutoParkit engineering facility.

AutoParkit builds fully automated parking garages in which the driver pulls into an elevator-type spot, gets a ticket, and the elevator-type machine takes the car and puts it away.

“It’s a relief we can move forward with the program we intended – creating something great in my hometown,” Alan said Tuesday evening. “It’s a good fit for us. There is a lot of history.”

Warren Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the bankruptcy ruling means a city eyesore will return to productive use again.

“There are already about 31 people working there,” Cantalamessa said. There will be an 18-month environmental cleanup assisted by the Western Reserve Port Authority and state of Ohio, and 250 to 300 people are expected to be working there in three to four years.

“At the eight- to 10-year mark, he’s looking at having as many as a thousand people working there,” Cantalamessa said.

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