Abandoned building in Braddock could turn into new cold storage facility

BRADDOCK, Pa. — There’s a proposal on the table that would turn an abandoned building in Braddock into a new cold storage facility.

“There’s a lot going on right now,” said Rodney Allen. “Construction. Renovating. And different things, and it’s a great thing for the City.”

Rodney Allen moved to Braddock 10 years ago. He walks through the industrial sections of the borough almost every day.

“I did notice it used to be something, and it seems like it’s in transition,” said Allen.

The 60,000-square-foot facility next to the steel mill used to be a vertical farming startup called Fifth Season. It shut down in 2022, and the building has been vacant ever since. Now, there’s some talk that a manufacturing and cold storage food facility could be relocating to Pennsylvania.

“To have it filled with a company that could provide jobs would mean a lot to Braddock,” said Braddock Borough Manager Louis Ransom.

Braddock Borough Manager Lou Ransom says this is in the very beginning stages, but he’s hopeful.

Not much has been said publicly about the future of this space. Much of the information on this is coming from an application for a state grant of $3 million through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. It says the project will also create about 200 permanent jobs plus 50 construction jobs.

“If you’re going to bring a business in here,” said Allen. “Even with some of the people doing construction and stuff, I hope they have local people involved.”

Two local companies, RDC and Fazio Mechanical, are listed on the application, which also noted this project will leverage an additional $ 12 million investment in Braddock and the Mon Valley.

“Because of the history of Braddock, we always feel that manufacturing has a home here,” said Ransom. “However, once you get people to have homes in Braddock, you need businesses to service them. Food. Sandwiches. Coffee. All those things that make people want to spend money here. We’d like to have that here as well.”

Ransom says a lot off of Sixth Street is going to be transformed into a market and cafe. There’s also talk of a sanitation business moving into town too.

“I believe the ball is rolling, and we’re going in the right direction,” said Ransom. “We’re hoping that some of that comes to fruition in the near future.”

According to the grant application, renovation of the building is in progress, and the company is set to move in July 2024.

“I think Braddock is full of good people,” said Ransom. “I think there’s hardworking people in Braddock that are just anxious for a shot to prove that Braddock is still a quality town. Braddock has a rich and strong history from the steel days. I believe it’s taken some hits, but the people are still very prideful in their home.”

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