Connellsville City Council prepared to sell former armory
Connellsville City Council has sold the former armory at 108 W. Washington Ave. for $30,000– as-is. The sale will not only add the property to the tax roles, but create several jobs.
If solicitor Tim Witt approves the proposal and terms for the city to finance the sale at 1 percent interest for an unspecified number of years, the vacant structure will be occupied, taxed and maintained.
At Wednesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Charles Matthews opened the only bid for the armory, from Lyndan Designs Inc., Connellsville. The company manufactures specialty concrete components.
“Their work with concrete is very innovative,” Councilman Tom Karpiak said. “They have a cabinet shop on Wills Road. We’re one step closer to Connellsville getting out of the real estate business.”
“I was encouraged by their enthusiasm, and their plan to restore the upstairs,” Councilman Brad Geyer said of Lyndan Designs.
Council also moved to make the final payment of $22,400 on the building, which the state Department of General Services sold for $50,000.
Geyer said the money will be transferred from a savings account and the building “will be put on the tax rolls this year.”
Matthews said the city will lose $3,600 on the sale, which will be recouped eventually in property taxes.
No one from Lyndan Designs addressed council.
“We advertised the armory for sale,” Councilman Brad Geyer said. “This is a current business with an interest in the armory for expanding their operation and hiring new employees.”
Lyndan Designs, owned by Daniel Froble, Zachary Froble and Windy Tuffs, plan to manufacture speciality concrete-based precast components for commercial and remodeling, according to the letter enclosed with the bid.
“The products produced are 100 percent green. There is minimal, low decibel noise during the manufacturing process. Light industrial zoning will be required for this process,” the letter said.
“The bulk of work will be performed in the lower level. The upper level will be used for storage, inventory, office and showrooms. It is our intention to maintain the existing exterior in its historical condition, as well as the entry and hallway leading to the drill area,” according to the proposal.
Lyndan Designs also intends to restore the drill area during the next two to five years and, once complete, it will be open to the public during business hours. Additionally, the company wants to fly the American and unit flags from the existing flagpoles and present the history of the building and the unit in the hallway once it opens to the public.
Built in 1907, the armory housed the National Guard’s D 1-103rd Armor Unit. The unit moved to a new facility in Connellsville Township in 2005 and the building has been vacant since.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and designated one of the Top 10 Preservation Opportunities by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh in 2011.
“One of our goals was to sell that armory and we all worked very aggressively to and showed this building to various entities,” Councilman Gregory Ritch said.