Five years and more than $1 million later, 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.
Young said on Monday that he remained hopeful that the company, AlphaGen, would soon locate in the facility on north Pecan Avenue bringing an initial $10 million investment.
A manufacturer of Cerarmix polymer ceramic coatings for industrial applications, infrastructure repair and clean energy, AlphaGen formally announced in December 2010 that it would open a plant here, bringing up to 200 new jobs and more as it expanded.
"As far as I know they are slowly trying to put the pieces together," Young 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."
Young said he remained optimistic that the company would locate here.
"They have not given us a definite no," he said. "They are still saying they are coming."
Attempts to reach AlphaGen officials were unsuccessful.
The city recently removed a large sign, which was erected in front of the city-owned facility in 2010 when the company's plans to locate here were formally announced.
"We took it down because some of the companies listed on the sign are not with the AlphaGen group any more," Young said.
The city renovated the U. S. Motors building to make way for AlphaGen by utilizing a $1 million Community Development Block Grant.
AlphaGen had earlier signed an agreement with the state saying it would pay back the $1 million if they had not created 200 jobs here by July 2015, City Attorney Robert Thomas has said.
The building has been ready for the company to move into for more than a year.
Alderman-at-large Willie Jackson called the long delay a "frustrating situation."
"We, as the city of Philadelphia, have to do everything that we can to fulfill our part of the contract of them," Jackson said. "It's a frustrating situation. We want to do right on our end, and hopefully, they will do right on their end."
The city paid, on average, $2,000 a month in utilities for over two years on the vacant building after Taylor Machine Works and La-Z-Boy, who had been leasing the building for storage, moved out in June 2011 to make way for the renovation.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen later had the electricity turned off in the city's name.
Taylor and La-Z-Boy had leased the building from the city for $160,000 annually, combined.
The renovation of the U. S. Motors facility to make way for AlphaGen included demolition of about 32,000 square feet of office area, painting the walls, roof repairs, electrical upgrades and repair/replacement of sanitary sewer service, among other things.