Amber, PA Plant Cleanup Follow Up

A grant for $4 million from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program was awarded to a project which will renovate a site which once held an asbestos factory. Once completed, the site will house 288 condominiums and the Boiler House office building. The additional funding will contribute to the $20 million needed for ridding the site of asbestos waste and remnants from the factory. State funds have also donated $4 million to cleaning up the site. To make up the rest of the costs, the developers, Westrum Development Company anticipates local contributions. Cleaning the site, which also includes a crumbling building from the factory, will begin before the end of 2008. The property has been abandoned since the factory closed in the 1970s, and residents are ready for the renovation project. A resident of the neighborhood who heard the announcement of the plans said, “It’ll be good because you get tired of looking at an old building.”

At a similarly contaminated site nearby, plans for development were canceled and construction on an access road through the area raised concerns from residents who feared that any disturbing of the site would release asbestos particles into the air. Airborne asbestos, if inhaled, can lead to many lung diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis . The site of the future condominiums and office building under the supervision of Westrum Development hopes to avoid such controversy. Once decontaminated, construction on the $125 – $150 million Crossing at Amber condominium complex will begin, some time in early 2009. Work on the Boiler House office building is also expected at that time. In charge of redevelopment of the site are Westrum Development Company, Strategic Realty Investments of Wayne and Summit Realty Advisors of New Castle, Delaware.