CAN DO, the economic development organization serving Greater Hazleton and beyond, has helped secure more than $2.5 million in funding for two northeastern Pennsylvania companies through new state low-interest loans recently approved by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).
The loans include $2.2 million for DHD Realty to renovate a downtown Hazleton building and $285,000 for Pittston-based GT Fabrication, Inc., to buy a new facility that is located outside of the flood plain.
The approvals were announced by Gov. Tom Corbett as part of his JOBS1st PA initiative, supporting the continued growth of manufacturers and regional efforts to redevelop old and abandoned buildings for new growth opportunities.
CAN DO has been certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as an industrial development corporation (IDC), enabling the organization to act as a conduit for state funding. CAN DO serves all businesses in Luzerne County.
“CAN DO is committed to assisting local businesses as they grow and succeed. Our role as an economic development organization stems from our mission of helping to create and retain quality jobs in Greater Hazleton and throughout the region,” said CAN DO President Kevin O’Donnell, who credited local legislators for their partnership.
CAN DO Director of Economic Development James Kelshaw detailed the two projects, which will help retain and create area jobs.
The first project is a $2,225,030, 15-year loan at 2.25 percent interest to renovate the former Hazleton National Bank Building in downtown Hazleton, owned by DHD Realty. The project investment will be more than $6 million and is projected to create 160 new jobs.
CAN DO was also awarded a $285,000, 15-year loan at 2.25 percent interest on behalf of GT Fabrication, Inc., to acquire an existing building in Dupont. The company performs precision metal fabrication, including powder coating, assembly and finishing, for many different industrial and manufacturing applications. It will acquire a 30,000-square-foot building approximately three miles away from its former site, which was located in a flood plain. The project investment is nearly $700,000 and is projected to retain all 14 positions.
Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) said the loans are vital components of job retention and creation for the area.
“The ability to preserve and create jobs is crucial for our region. These loans provide the necessary financing for two important Luzerne County projects. The renovation of the Hazleton National Bank Building and the expected creation of 160 new jobs is just the latest development in the revitalization of Downtown Hazleton,” Yudichak said.
Yudichak added, “GT Fabrication in Pittston has worked hard to recover from the 2011 flood. Now, thanks to the assistance of CAN DO, the firm will look forward to a brighter future without the fear of flooding.”
Kelshaw said CAN DO’s involvement shows the organization’s commitment to the area outside of CAN DO’s industrial parks.
“Securing these two loans, along with several others we’re processing as an area loan organization, demonstrates our commitment to the entire Hazleton area and Luzerne County. Because of our affiliation with state and regional agencies, CAN DO is able to assist area businesses in making their projects more viable by obtaining the necessary investment and securing favorable loan conditions. These projects all contribute to significant job creation and retention that stems from business growth,” Kelshaw said.
George F. Hayden, a partner in DHD Realty, said, “We’re very excited about what the state funding will help us accomplish in renovating the former Hazleton National Bank building. CAN DO had previously helped us obtain funding to renovate the former Traders’ Bank building. The building renovations are significant to the revitalization of downtown Hazleton, bringing hundreds of jobs to the area. This will be another opportunity for us to continue the growth of our downtown.”
Gino Tighe, chief operating officer of GT Fabrication, Inc., said flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 devastated his family’s business. “As a small, family-owned business, this funding is invaluable to helping our company recover from the damage caused by the flooding. The loan will help us relocate to a larger facility that is a safe distance from the Susquehanna River and retain our current workforce,” he said.
The two local projects were part of $11.8 million in low-interest loans approved by PIDA for eight projects in Adams, Allegheny, Bucks, Dauphin, Erie, Luzerne and Philadelphia counties that are projected to create 480 new jobs and retain 780 jobs. The projects will result in more than $53.1 million in total investments.
PIDA provides capital for building acquisition, construction and renovation work, primarily for manufacturers, industrial developers, research and development firms, agricultural processors and employers looking to establish national or regional headquarters in Pennsylvania.