MOUNT VERNON — Area Development Foundation Inc. President Jeffry D. Harris recently addressed the national Surplus Property Roundtable at a meeting hosted by Ingersoll Rand in Davidson, N.C., describing efforts to redevelop the Siemens campus after the company’s planned shut-down of assembly, testing and packaging operations in mid-2017.
Harris was the featured keynote speaker at Ingersoll Rand’s corporate center on Nov. 16, to a national audience of Fortune 100 companies’ property portfolio managers. Attendees included representatives of Ford, General Motors, ExxonMobil and Georgia Pacific, among others, as well as private sector development consultants active in national commercial real estate markets.
“This unique opportunity to address, in depth, our local team’s efforts to plan for the shut-down and redevelopment of the Siemens plant was incredibly valuable to our community,” Harris said. “I shared with corporate real estate leaders our intentions in redeveloping up to 40 acres of the Siemens campus in downtown Mount Vernon. And the audience members, in turn, expressed deep interest in our project and offered advice, feedback and candid thoughts on our approach to-date.”
In his presentation, Harris described to the audience the 47-acre Siemens campus and its 180-year history of industrial use within Mount Vernon, having been the original home of Cooper Bessemer and Rolls-Royce prior to the business line being acquired by Siemens. Harris further described recent efforts by his team — comprised of Siemens, the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County and the City of Mount Vernon — to hire an architectural-engineering firm, MS Consultants, to master-plan for the re-use of up to 383,000 square feet of vacated space on the campus. In early 2017, MS Consultants will deliver a realistic redevelopment strategy to turn the campus into an industrial park. The site is marked with key attributes, such as a dedicated railroad spur, a large number of overhead cranes, full electric and gas utilities and ample water and sewer capacities, which make it ideal for future industrial redevelopment.
The Roundtable also featured a keynote address by Mount Vernon-based Attorney Kim Rose, who addressed the audience with details of the redevelopment into Ariel-Foundation Park of a former Pittsburgh Plate Glass plant within the city.
Attendees were engaged in Rose’s remarks as he described the efforts undertaken to privately raise approximately $10 million to complete the park project. The Ariel-Foundation Park project was shown to the Roundtable as a best practice example of reclaiming surplus or unwanted industrial land and redeveloping it into a new high profile community use.
“We really appreciated the engagement and input from the Mount Vernon representatives in our discussions. It was eye opening to see how much the community has done with Ariel-Foundation Park and the efforts they are making with companies working through a plant closure process. Thank you for sharing those inspirational stories and unique perspectives with us,” said Michael Goldstein, Ingersoll Rand’s Manager of Environmental Remediation and Risk Management.
The Surplus Property Roundtable is the premier forum for senior corporate managers responsible for the management and disposition of surplus industrial properties. The mission of the organization is to provide educational opportunities and resources for the purpose of promoting the responsible ownership, management, remediation and disposition of real estate with legacy environmental issues. Started in 2012, the Roundtable initially formed around Alcoa, BASF, Exxon-Mobil, and Ford and now boasts 25 members.
Ingersoll Rand is a global diversified firm providing products, services and solutions to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings, transport and protect food and perishables, secure homes and commercial properties, and increase industrial productivity and efficiency.
The Area Development Foundation Inc. was created in the mid-1950s and serves as the central clearinghouse within Knox County of economic development expertise and activities. From negotiating public-private partnership deals to serving as the ombudsman for industrial end users, the Foundation seeks to retain and grow commercial and industrial economic opportunities within Knox County.