Revitalization continues at Paden City Industrial Park - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Revitalization continues at Paden City Industrial Park

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By CYNTHIA McCLOUD

For The State Journal

Floundering in the economic downturn around 2006, Paden City Industrial Park got a boost in 2009 from drillers extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale field that lies under the area.

"Oil States Energy Services has been a very consistent tenant for us over the past three years," said Cork Bowen, vice president of the Paden City Development Authority, which manages the property.

"We're right in the Marcellus Shale," he said. "This is a very advantageous location for them. They have a lot of equipment here that they move around to various counties as jobs arise. Paden City is a geographic center for them. Being centrally located is an advantage they have over their competitors."

Some tenants, including Oil States, have contributed more than just rent money to the park's renewal, such as heating and air conditioning upgrades and other improvements.

Rent payments have helped the development authority rebound.

"We continue to survive, and we managed to refinance our loan, and we're making extra payments to pay this building off," Bowen said.

That says something about how far they've come.

"From 2006-2008 when most of us came on board, we couldn't even make the monthly payments. We're talking near bankruptcy here," Bowen said. "We combined loans and recast loans to find lower interest rates. Then Steve Simpson & Associates (a tenant) and other people came into our business lives and were able to help make those payments. As we get more money from rent, we plow a lot of it back into keeping the park sustainable and trying to modernize what we can while trying to be as frugal as we can.

"We're really focused on maintaining the building with some updates," Bowen said. "Currently we're updating the electrical system in the major portion where we have around $40,000 invested. And that should provide more efficient electric use and reduce electric bills substantially over the next few years.

"We're installing a new lighting system, and we continue to work on our roofs."

The park has had other tenants come and go in recent years, including Chicago Bridge & Iron, which moved out when its work wrapped up on the Dominion project at Natrium.

"We have room for more tenants," Bowen said. "We have right now 52,000 square feet available for warehouse or light manufacturing. We have 4,000 square feet of office space. Both are in move-in condition."

The park has a total 210,000 square feet.

The property has had many tenants. Initially, it was the site of Paden City Pottery from the early 1920s until the late 1960s, Bowen said.

"Around 1969, Corning Glass purchased the building and began making Corning Ware. They moved out in 1991, and it was operated as a warehouse where PPG Industries stored supplies until Paden City purchased the building in 2000.

"When Corning moved out, it was pretty devastating," Bowen said, noting that most of the 400-500 displaced glass workers decided not to be transferred.

Helping their neighbors is one reason the development authority works to bring businesses and jobs to the park.

"We did not want to see the buildings and industrial park just closed up," said development authority secretary and former mayor Bill Fox. "We wanted to try to get it revived and create jobs."