Industrial Building Up for Auction in East Palestine

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Officials in East Palestine are hoping a 164,000-square-foot building left vacant as a result of HR Evans Steel’s bankruptcy could be filled soon, preferably by a tenant related to Royal Dutch Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker plant now under construction just 10 miles away.

“There are probably as many spin-off jobs as there will be jobs in that cracker plant,” says Don Elzer, a village councilman who is looking to get the word out about the property. “We’d like to take advantage of that.”

In June, Shell announced it would move forward with its long-anticipated plan to develop an ethane cracker plant along the Ohio River in Monaca, Pa. The project is expected to create more than 6,000 temporary construction jobs and between 500 to 600 permanent jobs. In addition, development officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania believe the cracker plant could also attract suppliers and other interests related to the petrochemicals industry – bringing thousands more jobs to the region.

“We’re about 100 feet from the Pennsylvania border,” says Elzer, who serves on council’s development committee. “I think we’re in a very good position to benefit from that project. It’s an amazing thing.”

Elzer scheduled a meeting for Sept. 26 with local business people to gauge their interest in the building, 193 N. James St. “We had a building similar to this not too long ago, and someone bought it for storage,” he says. “We want to attract jobs and make sure everyone knows about this.”

An online auction is set to begin Oct. 1 at ByceAuction.com.

HR Evans filed an involuntary petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Chapter 7 liquidation in March, and the contents and equipment inside the building – except for the overhead cranes – have been sold, reports Jeff Byce, owner of Byce Auction LLC, Youngstown, which was appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to sell the former plant.

“It’s a really good building, and it could be used for manufacturing, warehousing, a recycling center, or even multi-tenant capabilities,” Byce says.

At one time, the building housed several companies including HR Evans, Hawkland Development, Dilworth Electric, Mark’s Home Carpet and a small pottery, he notes. “There’s an opportunity for an investor to come in and rent it to multiple tenants.”

The online auction will close at 4 p.m. Oct. 26. Tours of the building are scheduled for noon Oct. 1 and at 4 p.m. Oct. 19.

Byce says East Palestine officials have been very cooperative in efforts to help market the building to a good user, and there is some interest from the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets. Opening bid price for the building is $90,000, he says, but expects the final sale price to be higher.

According to the Columbiana County Auditor, the building sits on 2.85 acres and its value is assessed at $585,800 for tax purposes. The bankruptcy court must approve the sale before it is final.

“You could put 10 businesses in there,” says East Palestine’s Elzer. “We have a downtown that’s vibrant compared to five years ago, and some of our manufacturers have expanded.”

Restoring the former HR Evans building to productive use is a priority for the village and he hopes the empty plant will attract an end-user that could create jobs for the community.

“It only takes one,” Elzer says.

Pictured: This 164,000-square-foot building at 193 N. James St. in East Palestine previously housed HR Evans Steel, which was liquidated.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.