Warren officials to check options for Peerless site

WARREN — Now that Peerless Electric Co. has shut down operations at its West Market Street plant, city officials said they plan to work with the company to ensure the site doesn’t sit unoccupied indefinitely.

On Wednesday, Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said the focus now becomes exploring options for the property, such as marketing it.

“We have to look at the property to see whether it can be repurposed,” Franklin said. “Now it becomes a question of whether the building needs improved, refurbished or demolished.”

After operating in the city for more than 122 years, the company, a subsidiary of  Dublin, Ohio-based HBD Industries Inc., reported that business conditions warranted the shutdown.

A company representative confirmed that the plant, which in recent years had been operating with a skeleton crew, closed late last month.

He said he could not speculate at this time what will become of the 2.2-acre property where electric motors were manufactured for “pump, military and other commercial applications,” according to the company’s website.

Franklin said he believes that at one time, the plant employed a few hundred people, but that had dwindled to about 11 employees.

“Obviously, we don’t want to see any jobs lost, we don’t want to lose even one job,” Franklin said. “Those 11 jobs count just as much as any others. We value them. We’re sad to see the company go.”

Warren Safety-Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said that in the short term, security is an issue for any property that becomes vacant. He and Franklin said having some employees at the site in recent months has helped alleviate that concern.

“Security is definitely something we’ll have to address, now that the plant is closed,” Cantalamessa said.

Peerless was founded in Warren in 1893 and was acquired by HBD in 1989.

“We’ll be communicating with the company and discussing all of the options, the possibilities, and the next steps that will need to be taken,” Franklin said. “We don’t have a lot of land in the city for development. We’d like to see another company, another manufacturer come in. That would be our hope. That’s our goal.”