Fred Kohart, demolition manager for Kohart Surplus and Salvage of Paulding, Ohio, hopes to rehabilitate the 70-acre Bryan Foods site to attract another industry or at least a few other tenants.
“It’s a two-, two-and-half-year project,” he said. “Some of the buildings are fairly modern and in pretty good shape and we’re fixing them up. We’re making some office space now.”
The old plant covered about 550,000 square feet, scattered across several buildings. Kohart estimates about 350,000 square feet of it will be demolished.
“All the scrap we’re selling in West Point and Columbus,” he said. “The steel we’re selling to Severstal in Columbus.”
Sara Lee Corp. of Downers Grove, Ill., closed the plant in March 2007, putting more than 1,200 people out of work.
It was a hit the city and Clay County have yet to recover from. The unemployment rate has stayed in the upper double digits ever since.
Kohart says he bought the plant in September from a business acquaintance. Terms were not disclosed.