Things keep looking up for Manchester.
After a successful house sale last fall and the groundbreaking ceremony for a new housing development in January, community officials announced the creation of as many as 100 new jobs in the first half of this year.
At a community meeting on March 29, Manchester Citizens Corporation announced that it was in talks with a Chicago businessman who wants to convert the old Reinhold Ice Cream factory on Western Avenue into a manufacturing and packaging plant for his recycled antifreeze and oil products.
Rodney Burrington’s Pinnacle, LLC is investing in the building and in more equipment, with the hope of opening for business within 30 to 60 days. Burrington said it would take at least 30 days to get all the permits he needs.
Burrington’s Chicago-based plant already produces his antifreeze product, which he said is “geared toward a lower end market,” with a gallon costing about $5.99, about half the cost of a similar name brand product.
Burrington expects to hire as few as 25 and as many as 100 employees from the neighborhood and surrounding area and said the jobs will pay between $10 and $11 an hour. The larger estimate of workers will be the case if Burrington decides to not only recycle the antifreeze but also manufacture plastic jugs on site to carry it.
“It’s very important for us to get people in the area,” said Burrington, explaining that workers are much happier with lower paying jobs when they don’t have to spend much of their paycheck on transportation.
After first contacting Daniel Lavelle, Manchester’s city councilman, Lavelle directed him to MCC, which jumped at the chance to make his investment in their neighborhood a reality.
Most questions directed at Burrington concerned the environmental safety of his manufacturing business.
Burrington said he is working with Dave Brown, of Fourth River Development, to produce an environmentally stable plan for the plant.
MCC Executive Director Stanley Lowe announced that MCC is considering creating a for-profit entity to help Pinnacle with distribution. They will also likely assist Burrington in conducting background checks of potential employees.
If you’d like to apply, call MCC at 412-323-1743 for more information.
Foreclosure Prevention Funding
Lowe also announced that the Urban Redevelopment Authority is holding $500,000 in foreclosure prevention funding from the 2009 Reinvestment Act.
The funds can only be used for properties in Manchester and must be used by the end of June 2010.
Lowe said that residents should alert other Manchester residents who are having problems with a mortgage to the available funding. MCC could use the funds to buy the mortgage from the lender and renegotiate a better mortgage for the buyer.
Mark Schneider of Fourth River Development, the builder in charge of the 31-home Columbus Square development project, told residents that the hold up in construction is a result of not getting an agreement with the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority.
Schneider said the new development requires the water utility to invest in its infrastructure at a time when it is having budgetary troubles.
Schneider said Fourth River still has five of the nine deposits it received at the house sale.
MCC’s Jerome Jackson said renovations on the Manchester Renaissance houses will begin within 60 days. MCC has purchased the houses in order to renovate and sell them to owner-occupiers.