City Manager Jonathan Westendorf said the entire site has been cleared for future development. He said the city plans to negotiate a financing plan through the Warren County Port Authority this fall and prior to the Dec. 15 closing.
“I think this is a huge step forward,” he said.
Cohen acquired the former Mindlin Recycling property in June 2017 and the former Boxboard facility in November 2017. Franklin Boxboard ended production of recycled paperboard in August 2011 when 81 people lost their hourly or salaried jobs. The plant had been in operation for 100 years. The building’s size was between 170,000 and 200,000 square feet.
City officials have been concerned for many years about the appearance of the recycling facility as it’s located on a main thoroughfare into the city and the impression it creates. Mindlin Recycling used to collect newspaper, cardboard, sheet iron, heavy iron, aluminum cans, copper, brass and electronic scrap. Cohen purchased the 100-year-old family business.
“I was happy with the price to purchase the site,” Westendorf said. “Cohen has helped us to achieve our vision and will help us with marketing and developing the property in the future. I’m thrilled.”
Westendorf said preliminary downtown redevelopment plans for the site is identified for mixed-use development that would include residential, retail and commercial. In addition, preliminary plans call for Seventh Street to go through the site and extend to Riley Boulevard he said.
“I would love to see a restaurant on that corner with open seating,” he said. “It could be a nice spot.”
“It’s been a busy 18 months but it’s fun to see progress being made and glad we have a plan,” Westendorf said. “This is a serious step forward.”