Old Mill construction under way

Construction at former Foundry site is under way, April opening anticipated

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Old Mill is streaming along.


The new retail complex is going up on the grounds of The Foundry, the ill-fated project done in by land subsidence. It is on the southbound side of Route 19 in South Strabane Township.


“We’ve started vertical construction on 57,000 square feet of shops,” said Andy Boyd, senior asset manager for the Staenberg Group, a shopping center developer in charge of the project. Work is being done behind the Oliver Garden and Max & Erma’s restaurants, the only businesses on the site.


Boyd said last week that four companies have signed letters of intent to locate there, but he could not give names until after leases are signed. He said “several are close” to doing so, within perhaps 30 to 45 days.


Soil has been redistributed and walls are being erected at the site, which will have a mix of retail and restaurants. “We anticipate the first stores opening in April,” Boyd said.


Indianapolis-based Premier Properties USA announced The Foundry project in 2005, saying it would build a 575,000-square-foot shopping center. By December 2007, Premier had signed leases for about 20 retailers, but only J.C. Penney, Bed Bath & Beyond, Ross Dress-for-Less and Max & Erma’s were operating.


Within six months, Premier Properties filed for bankruptcy and the three stores in the in-line portion of The Foundry had closed after subsidence behind the retaining wall caused cracks in the floors and walls of the stores.


J.C. Penney returned to its previous store at Washington Mall, where it continues to operate. That left Max & Erma’s as the only original business at The Foundry.


A return is brewing

Beer-flavored ice cream? Not a chance, although the brand name sparks speculation that someone in corporate, at some point, may have tried.


Yuengling’s Ice Cream will be back in operation soon following a 28-year hiatus. Though not affiliated with the Pottsville-based brewery, D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., a branch of that eastern Pennsylvania family is relaunching the ice cream business that had existed from 1920 to 1985.


And its product will be coming to grocery store shelves throughout the region, probably before March. The privately held company said in a news release that its ice cream will be sold “from Pittsburgh to New Jersey, and from Scranton, Pa., to northern Virginia.”


The company, headed by Presdient David Yuengling, pledges to use “only all-natural ingredients,” according to the release. “The milk and cream will be locally sourced in Pennsylvania, with production also in Pennsylvania, making the brand PA Preferred.”


Yuengling’s 10 flavors, which will go for $5.49 to $5.99 a quart: Vanilla, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Marshmallow, Espresso Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Black and Tan (chocolate and caramel), Vanilla Fudge Chunk with Pretzels, and Root Beer Float.


At least the word “beer” makes the list.


Allstate in our state

The Good Hands people are looking for a lot of able bodies throughout Pennsylvania.


Allstate Insurance Company is planning to add 305 insurance agents statewide over the next year – more than one-fourth of them in Western Pennsylvania.


The company said 80 of the appointees will be owners of new agencies and 225 will be licensed sales producers. Allstate is seeking agency-owner candidates who are mid-career, mid-level managers who want to own and operate a business. Licensed sales producers will be hired at new as well as existing sites.


Although specific municipalities were not mentioned as candidates for new agencies, sites in Washington and Greene counties are likely – especially in Washington, where the population continues to increase.


“We target cities and areas that show growth and increasing demand as a part of Allstate’s broader strategy to expand our presence in Pennsylvania,” Ed Norcia, Allstate’s Northeast Region strategic deployment leader, said in a news release.


The company plans to hire 80 in Western Pennsylvania – 25 agency owners, 55 licensed sales staffers.


For more information, visit allstate.com or call 1-800-733-7010 x3395.


Very funny

Conan O’Brien’s show may be based in Los Angeles, but he apparently has a geographic and geological awareness of Marcellus country.


The late-night TBS host sent a tremendous tweet in the early evening of Sept. 22 before the Emmy extravaganza: “A guy backstage at the Emmys just told me where they get the gold statues. Fracking. The soil in Western Pennsylvania is lousy with ’em.”


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