Sprawling former 3M plant on the market

May 24, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MIDDLEWAY, W.Va. - For sale: 270-acre property with its own lake.

Other features include a half-mile of trout stream frontage, a 750,000-gallon-per day drinking water plant, its own sewage system and 325,000 square feet of space under roof.

That and more can be yours for $6.2 million.

After serving for years as a plant to manufacture goods associated with the printing industry, a sprawling manufacturing facility in Middleway now owned by Eastman Kodak Co. is up for sale.

The Middleway plant has been a longtime producer of printing plates and at one time was owned by 3M.

Then it was owned by Spectratech International Inc., and later by Creo Inc.

Creo sold the plant to Eastman Kodak Co., which has decided to sell the plant, said Jane Peters, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority.


About 147 people worked at the plant when it was operated by Creo, and the work force gradually has been reduced as Kodak prepares for the sale, Peters said.

Peters said Kodak has given little reason for its decision to sell the plant.

Plant officials briefed members of the Jefferson County Commission about the features of the property last week.

The manufacturing plant has its own lake known as Lake Louise, which provides water to the facility, said Todd Donmoyer, plant manager.

T-1 communication lines feed the plant as well as a natural gas line, Donmoyer said.

There is also a landfill on the property, although it was capped about 20 years ago, Donmoyer said.

A number of entities are involved in marketing the plant nationwide, including the West Virginia Development Office, Peters said.

Commission President Greg Corliss said he is concerned how the plant might be used in the future.

"Certainly, it should stay on the tax rolls," Peters told commission members last Thursday.

3M purchased the property in 1959 and began operations in 1961 with 61 employees. At its peak, the 3M plant employed about 300 people, officials said.

At one time, the plant was involved in a "metal matrix composite operation," which involved the development of lightweight material for use in sophisticated military aircraft.

After operating under the 3M name for 35 years, plant officials announced in 1996 that the facility would become a new company - called Imation - which would specialize in computer-related equipment for the printing industry.

The plant was sold to Spectratech International Inc. in 1999.

Creo purchased the plant in 2005, and officials with the company said that demand for printing products has been good and Creo wanted to offer as many products as it could to its customers.

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