Wind turbine company weighing Pennsylvania site in place of Jewett City

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Jewett City - posted Mon., Jan. 13, 2014
Plans for a wind turbine manufacturer to move into the long-vacant Wyre Wynd building in Jewett City have hit a snag. File photo by Janice Steinhagen.
Plans for a wind turbine manufacturer to move into the long-vacant Wyre Wynd building in Jewett City have hit a snag. File photo by Janice Steinhagen.

A wind turbine manufacturer planning to move into the former Wyre Wynd factory complex in Jewett City is now considering an alternate site in Pennsylvania, due to a snag in the state business incentive grant process. Company officials from Change Wind Corp. said that efforts to meet with state representatives from the state Department of Economic and Community Development have stalled. As a result, the company is considering setting up shop in the Delaware Water Gap instead.

“I’m disappointed with the response we’ve received [from the state],” said Jim Bardia, chief executive officer of Change Wind Corp., which announced its plans for the site last October. “The cooperation has been lackluster. We’re working diligently toward trying to put a manufacturing facility there. We’d like to make this work.”

Bardia said that he had been awaiting a decision from the DECD for about a year concerning a grant of up to $500,000 towards job creation at the site. The funds would help finance renovation at the long-vacant site, he said. But after a series of postponements and cancellations, Bardia said that Change Wind is looking at a Pennsylvania site in move-in condition with easy access to Interstate 80.  Freight shipping costs would be lower there, since, unlike in Jewett City, trucks could both arrive and depart with a full load, he said.

Bardia said that his company, Notus Euros LLC, which owns the former Wyre Wynd building, would either turn the complex into an industrial park or sell it, if efforts to establish Change Wind production there are unsuccessful.

Jim Watson, a spokesperson for the state DECD, said he could not discuss details of Change Wind’s grant application. “We are working with the company to secure financial information to do due diligence,” he said.

Griswold First Selectman Kevin Skulczyck said that town officials are doing what they can to move things along, in conjunction with state Rep. Steven Mikutel (D-45) and state Sen. Andrew Maynard (D-18). “I know everyone wants to see this,” he said. “For the entire state of Connecticut, as tough as the economy is, this is an opportunity for a green industry that seems to be sought after… [in] a town that desperately, desperately needs this.”

Skulczyck said that he was scheduled to meet with officials from both Change Wind and the state DECD this week to receive an update on the grant application’s status. If the turbine plant falls through, the next step would be to pursue other tenants for the building, he said.

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