The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

September 20, 2013

Investing in Sharon

Hermitage company eyes WE site, 75 jobs

By Joe Wiercinski
Herald Staff Writer

SHARON — A company located in Hermitage is proposing a $52 million investment that would create 75 jobs in Sharon.

The city is supporting the project with a $3 million state economic development grant but officials aren’t providing details at this point.

City council members withheld comment Thursday after  voting to accept a capital project cooperation agreement with Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine Co., Hermitage.

Council and City Manager Scott Andrejchak directed questions to Ellwood.

“We are really excited about the impact of this but we would want details to come from the company,” said Ed Palanski, council vice president.

The Herald’s call for comment to Ellwood Crankshaft was not returned Thursday afternoon.

The grant contract between the city and the company says Ellwood will build “the world’s largest horizontal multi-directional forging press” in a section of the former Westinghouse plant most recently used until several years ago by Wheatland Tube Co. on Sharpsville Avenue.

The draft agreement said the 400,000-square-foot building “will become Ellwood’s new state-of-the-art forging complex and will house the new press along with engineering, heat treating, machining, metallurgical testing and inspection.”

Ellwood expects it to be operating by September 2015.

The agreement redirects to Ellwood $3 million from a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects grant that had been earmarked for a stalled commercial development downtown.

The state grant had been awarded to the city to support the yet-to-be-built Sharon Lofts at City Centre. That project has languished since Shenango Avenue Associates announced it in October 2007.

Partners Greg Koledin, president of Wesex Corp., West Middlesex, and Brian Beader, a Mercer County commissioner, proposed an $8 million building for apartments, retail businesses and commercial space at Shenango Avenue and Pitt Street, once the downtown site of the Fraternal Order of Elks.

Lofts was to contain apartments for students at Penn State-Shenango as well rental space for businesses and stores but construction never started although the project was later downsized.

Koledin, declining to comment further, said his company had not spent any of the grant money toward the downtown project.

Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine Co. is a subsidiary of Ellwood Group Inc., headquartered in Ellwood City.

Ellwood Group’s website says it produces engineered, heavy metal sections for equipment manufacturers in the United States and around the world.

The company’s nine operating business units, encompassing multiple plants in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Texas and Canada, provide customers with specialty engineered forging steels, iron castings, forgings and other alloy parts.

Industries served by EWI companies include oil and gas, mining, metals processing, power generation, aircraft, railroad, automotive, tooling, water transportation and defense.

Ellwood Group units operate several plants in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

In the machining division, Ellwood National Crankshaft Services, 303 Llodio Road, and Ellwood Crankshaft and Machine, 2727 Freedland Road, are in Hermitage.

Other units of its machining division are in New Castle and  Irvine, Pa., and LaSalle, Ontario, Canada.

Ellwood Quality Steels is a melting unit in New Castle.

Ellwood Group also has forging units in New Castle, Ellwood City and Corry, Pa., as well as Houston.

It has a castings unit, Ellwood Engineered Casting, in Hubbard, the website says.