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Pennex Aluminum moves ahead with expansion

LEETONIA — The Pennex Aluminum Corp. wasted little time in moving forward with its planned expansion at the Columbiana County Port Authority’s World Trade Park.

Port Authority Director Penny Traina announced at this week’s board meeting Pennex closed on the purchase of additional property from the port authority on Sept. 14 and broke ground three days later, less than a month after the port authority agreed to sell 20 acres to the company for its planned expansion. Pennex is located in the World Trade Park (WTP), and the 20 acres are across the street. The expansion is expected to create 45 new jobs in addition to the 140 in existence.

The board has also agreed to sell its office building and 17 acres in the WTP to Haltec Inc., which intends to relocate from Butler Township. The project is expected to result in the creation of 75 additional jobs.

Haltec agreed to a sale price of $2.31 million, but the board agreed at this week’s meeting to reduce it by $79,640 to $2.23 million after the company discovered some problems with the roof that need to be corrected. The $79,640 represents the cost of estimated repairs following an inspection by the contractor retained by Haltec. Officials said they did not want this to hold up the sale, which is why they agreed to reduce the price.

Haltec has yet to close on the sale, and when it does the port authority will use some of the money to purchase the former OneStop building in Lisbon to serve as its new home.

Finally, the board agreed to a new lease with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, the largest tenant at the port authority’s Cherry Fork industrial building, also in Leetonia. MHIA, which manufactures equipment for the tire manufacturing industry, will begin leasing 11,820 square feet starting Oct. 1, down from the 68,000 square feet it had been leasing.

MHIA is one of the original tenants at the Cherry Fork site and the only one left in the building. As for the space vacated by MHIA and the other tenants, Traina said they are “working feverishly to get someone in there.”

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