The Industrial Land Development Corporation met Monday night for the first time since December and announced progress on redeveloping the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna.
If you drove by the former steel complex along Route 5 just ten years ago, you saw a dilapidated and contaminated skeleton of what was once a sign of mighty industry. That has been slowly changing over the past few years, spurred by the acquisition of the land by the ILDC in 2017.
“In the future, we’ll not necessarily be talking about that site as the former Bethlehem Steel complex. We’ll be talking about the businesses and new energy that comes from this community,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who chairs the ILDC. “The renaissance that will be the former Bethlehem site, but will have something new for the future generations that never knew what Bethlehem Steel was.”
Since the public benefit corporation took over the land, the site saw its first public roads, new sewage and water lines and a bike path. President and CEO of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency John Cappellino said that in the RFP stage is a net-zero manufacturing facility.
“A building that produces as much energy or more energy than it consumes. So this design would include things like solar panels on the property, potential windmills, geo-thermal for heating and cooling, as well as advanced materials in building construction,” Cappellino said. “It would really create a super energy efficient, and then positive energy production facility. This facility would even contemplate having manufacturing in it.”
According to Cappellino, the master plan for the site is laid out to allow accessibility and flexibility for potential new tenants. A more short term improvement that might start to be seen this year is the extension of the bike path to Woodlawn Beach.