Cleveland Steel Container Plans Expansion at Former Niles GE Plant

NILES, Ohio — Cleveland Steel Container Corp. plans to move swiftly to relocate from its current Mason Street site to the former General Electric plant, Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz said.

The company, which manufactures steel pail products, has outgrown its existing Niles plant – one of five the Glenwillow-headquartered company operates, Mientkiewicz said.

“We know they want to get started sooner rather than later,” he said.

In addition to taking over the existing 69,430-square-foot building, Cleveland Steel Container plans to build a 120,000-square-foot building at the site, said Nicholas Coggins, assistant director of the Trumbull County Planning Commission.

Trumbull County commissioners approved a 10-year, 75% property tax abatement to support the project Wednesday. Niles City Council had earlier established an enterprise zone for the site.

Company officials already had been considering a site in Warren when they approached Niles officials about their need to expand, and someone brought the GE building to their attention, Mientkiewicz said.

Closed more than a decade ago, the shuttered Niles plant was one of three vacated Mahoning Valley properties that General Electric had put up for auction in 2017. GE, which withdrew the property from the auction based on interest expressed in it, sold the building and 15.7-acre site to Denrich Properties for $300,000 in January 2021. It was subsequently transferred to another entity, FSBP Corp. in Girard.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cleveland Steel Container committed to retaining the plant’s existing 43 full-time equivalent and one part-time equivalent jobs, with a minimum one FTE job created.

“They’re hoping that with the expansion of the business and the new facility that there will be additional jobs but they had to commit to at least one job,” Mientkiewicz said.

In addition to the abatement, the city – which operates its own electric company – offered Cleveland Steel Container an 8% modification on what it pays for electricity, he said. Since the GE building is in the downtown area, the company also is eligible to be reimbursed for up to $5,000 of expenses for façade, signage and sidewalk improvements.

The company also might seek state funds for brownfield remediation at the property, he reported.

“It’s a very good win for the city,” Mientkiewicz said. Many people emphasized the importance of filing the vacant building and he was pleased to be able to do in a way that retained jobs in the city and had the potential to create more.

Additionally, the city is working with the company on an agreement regarding its existing plant so that the building isn’t left vacant to decay “for years to come,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.