The former Erie Plastics Corp. plant in Corry, Pa., which Berry Plastics Corp. acquired in 2008 as part of its bankruptcy acquisition of Erie, remains unsold.
Berry listed the 505,000-square-foot plant for sale during the second quarter of 2010, but a buyer did not emerge. The current asking price is $10 per square foot, or about $5.1 million, Cleveland-based property agent Joseph Messina of Jones Lang LaSalle said in an Oct. 18 telephone call.
Berry continues to market the facility, and local governments are creating incentives to attract a buyer, Eva Schmitz, a spokeswoman for Evansville-based Berry, said in an Oct. 26 email. Custom molding equipment that was in the plant when Berry acquired it remains in place, according to several sources.
“I think everybody around here hopes that Berry will find a use for it. I'd like to see it get redeployed in the industry, because I drive by it every day,” said Hoop Roche, Erie Plastics' former chairman and majority owner.
Roche, a business consultant and lecturer at Pennsylvania State University's Behrend College in Erie, Pa., said the Corry area has plenty of potential employees willing to work at competitive wages.
A website auction in November 2010 resulted in a $3 million bid for the facility, but that did not meet the reserve price set by Berry, according to Roche and Rick Novotny, executive director of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority.
The Corry site has been designated a Keystone Opportunity Zone, Novotny said.
“Anybody who would move in there would be exempt from all state taxes until 2020,” he said.
Potential buyers could benefit from Pennsylvania-based drillers who are tapping into Marcellus Shale gas through hydraulic fracturing — the controversial process known as “fracking” — if it results in expected increases in ethylene feedstock, he added.
According to a listing provided by Schmitz, the plant, which sits on 30 acres, was built in 1962 and was renovated in the early 2000s. Erie ran 67 injection molding machines at the site, Roche said.
Erie employed 200 in Corry, producing rigid, thin-wall packaging via high-cavitation and high-speed molding methods for various industries.
Founded in 1960, the company moved into the Corry plant in 2001, and had satellite operations in Westborough, Mass., and Székesfehérvár, Hungary.
Faced with a slumping economy, tight credit markets and the sudden, unexpected loss of Procter & Gamble Co. — its biggest customer — Erie filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2008.
Berry acquired the Corry plant and most of the machinery and equipment in November 2008 for about $6.9 million, including $6.7 million paid to Erie creditor J.P. Morgan Chase.
Berry announced one week after its purchase that it was shutting down Erie.