With nearly 50,000 employees at almost 300 locations around the globe, leading plastics manufacturer, Berry Plastics, will soon have a bigger footprint in the heart of Erie’s Little Italy neighborhood.
In 2017, the Enterprise Development Center of Erie County (EDCEC), a ECRDA affiliate partner, purchased the property for the purpose of supporting Berry. Often referred to as the former “Max Silver” site, the property once was used for “recycling” more commonly known as a junk yard.
Tine Mengine, CEO of the ECRDA notes, “Significant environmental hazards were found and had to be addressed. These types of issues are not only very difficult, but also challenging for private entities to address. Part of our mission is to make it as easy as possible for companies like Berry to want to stay and expand in Erie. Working with our environmental team and the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the site was cleaned up to (DEP) Act 2 standards, making way for new investment.” The end result will include a 90,000 SF warehouse, close to Berry’s original Myrtle Street location, in order to develop one large campus. Berry currently employs 145 individuals, and the expansion is expected to add another eight to twelve employees at Berry.
City of Erie Mayor Joseph Schember is enthusiastic about the partnership. “Berry is a tremendous asset to our community and to the Little Italy neighborhood. Additional jobs that will be created as a result of this project, make this project especially exciting for Erie. We look forward to Berry Global’s continued growth in Erie, and we are grateful to the ECRDA team for their hard work on projects of this significance.”
The total investment in the project is $9.1 million. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provided a $2MM Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant, a $623k Industrial Sites Reuse Program (ISRP) grant, and a $2.2 MM Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) low-interest loan. The City of Erie provided a $500,000 CDBG Grant and a $1MM low interest loan. ECRDA provided a $1MM low-interest loan, and FNB bank has provided a $1.8MM loan.
Mengine notes, “After several starts and stops, we are finally ready to break ground,” adding, “Through this one project, we helped clean up a critical neighborhood, worked to solidify Berry Global presence in Erie and helped to position Berry and Erie for continued growth. It’s an exciting opportunity for us and the community.”
The groundbreaking will take place on Wednesday, April 20 at 10 am at 1501 Myrtle Street. Remarks will be provided by: Neil Weaver, Acting Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Mayor Joseph Schember, and leadership from Berry Plastics and the ECRDA. Media is invited to attend.