GE set to tear down plants

WARREN – General Electric is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up the asbestos and other waste inside two former Trumbull County plants with plans to demolish portions of each plant and sell the remaining structures.

Work began last week on asbestos abatement at the former Niles Mahoning Glass plant in order to clear it for demolition, said Christopher Augustine, GE Lighting’s manager of global communications and public affairs.

An asbestos abatement permit filed with the Niles Building Department indicated the work will cost the company about $274,000.

Niles Building Inspector Anthony J. Vigorito said he expects soon to see plans outlining partial demolition for the building which closed in 2010 displacing about 300 workers.

Augustine confirmed the building is set for “deconstruction” after the asbestos work is complete in September.

The adjacent former Niles Glass plant and offices will remain and be put on the market later this year, Augustine said. The glass plant closed in 2008. At its height, it employed 500 workers in the late 1970s.

In a separate project, asbestos removal has been under way for several weeks inside the former Trumbull Lamp Plant at 1313 W. Market St., Warren. Part of that plant, which consists of two buildings connected by a walkway over Austin Avenue S.W., also is set for demolition, Augustine said.

He said the asbestos abatement is being done at the main building, west of Austin Avenue S.W., in anticipation of demolition.

“The smaller annex is being prepared for sale,” Augustine said. “This is a normal process we go through when we have property that we are preparing for sale. The process generally removes any waste. … If they deem the building or buildings are suitable to be sold, they will clean them up and prepare them for sale.”

Augustine said there are no plans to demolish or sell an Austintown GE plant that closed in 2008, because that building is being used by the company to warehouse lighting supplies and glass.

A second Warren plant on North Park Avenue is the only remaining local GE factory still in use. That plant, which employs about 200 workers, is scheduled to be shut down early next year.

The company has not yet said what will be done with that building. Officials did say, however, the lighting lines inside that Ohio Lamp plant will be relocated to another GE plant.

A Portage County GE plant also is set for closure in January 2014, displacing 164 workers.

One by one the company closed the plants through the years blaming things like declining volume in a highly competitive market and shift of customer demand to more efficient bulbs made elsewhere.