EDITORIAL/AlpahGen in the sweet by and by
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 1:00 AM
It's been a while, five years and more than $1 million later to be precise. But Philadelphia Mayor James A. Young is still hopeful a polymer ceramic coating manufacturer will occupy the old U.S. Motors building that was renovated extensively for the industry that has promised 200 new jobs.
While Young said on Monday that he remained hopeful the company, AlphaGen, would soon locate in the facility on north Pecan Avenue bringing an initial $10 million investment, he must be the only one in town.
We're hopeful, too - but not really, not anymore.
Pie in the sky by and by just like a lot of the green energy scams brought to taxpayers by the Obama administration.
The Washington Post concluded of Obama's $13 billion in green stimulus programs that it was "infused with politics" at every level of the decision-making process. Political considerations all too often overruled warnings that billions of tax dollars would be lost on shaky energy projects that should never have been approved.
Whether AlphaGen was at that trough is unknown.
But, according to Young, financing is the holdup. "As far as I know they are slowly trying to put the pieces together," he said. "Over the last couple of months they have had one or two representatives going through the building. They had a guy out there checking the electrical stuff, looking at electrical issues and so forth."
Well, they haven't given a definite "no," the mayor said, so let's hold out hope.
If AlphaGen does not create 200 jobs in Philadelphia by July 2015, the company will have to repay the $1 million grant, City Attorney Robert Thomas has said.
Good luck finding AlphaGen to write that check. Attempts by the Democrat to reach AlphaGen officials were unsuccessful.
Alderman-at-Large Willie Jackson called the long delay a "frustrating situation" and he's right.
For two years, the city paid, on average, $2,000 a month in utilities at the vacant building after two paying customers were booted.
Taylor Machine Works and La-Z-Boy, which had been leasing the building for storage, were forced to move out in June 2011 to make way for the new industry. Combined, Taylor and La-Z-Boy had leased the building for $160,000 annually.
So the city went from making money to losing. And lest we forget, the mayor and board raised taxes last year.
The longer the clock ticks, the less likely it seems this strange venture is going to materalize.
Our people need jobs. And bad decisions like this boondoggle have been getting in the way of new jobs. Industrial development should be a higher and more serious priority in Philadelphia and Neshoba County.
We have a good workforce here and there's no reason we can't attract new jobs.