Warnaco’s closing date uncertain

DUNCANSVILLE – The Warnaco distribution facility here will be closing its doors, but no one is sure when.

Rumors of the closing began circulating in March after the PVH Corp. of New York completed the acquisition of the Warnaco Group Inc. in February.

However, PVH officials have been hush-hush and have not responded to voicemails or emails.

Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. President and CEO Marty Marasco said to this day he has not received any correspondence from the company.

“They never gave us any official notice. We hear they will be out of here by March,” Marasco said.

In April, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., wrote to the company urging it to remain in Blair County, but a Casey spokesman said a response was never received.

However, PVH Corp. did notify the state Department of Labor and Industry in accordance with the provisions of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that it planned to permanently shut down its plants at 102 Warnaco Lane, Duncansville, and 10320 Fairgrounds Road, Huntingdon.

The letter said the closing of these operations was expected to begin July 31 with approximately 422 employees affected.

The layoff of 125 workers at the Huntingdon facility was completed Sept. 6, according to Amy Wise, executive director of Huntingdon County Business and Industry Inc., who also said she never had any correspondence from the company.

The Department of Labor and Industry’s Rapid Response team worked with the company during these layoffs. Informational meetings and re-employment workshops were conducted on the employer’s site prior to the layoffs, said DLI spokeswoman Lindsay Bracale.

Help is available for those who have lost jobs.

“We have resources should they be interested in going back to school for training; we have financial resources to help them,” said Susan Whisler, director of the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission Workforce Investment Board.

It is not known how many employees remain at the Duncansville facility, which in 2011 employed 260, according to ABCD Corp.

Ironically a “now hiring” sign sits in the front yard of the plant.

“We have a lot of people there. They still are hiring from us. I am hoping against hope that it continues. We don’t know what will happen. We are sending people out there all the time. As long as they keep doing it, we will be here to help them,” said Donald Ruggery Sr., CEO and president of Ruggieri Enterprises LLC, doing business as Spherion, a recruiting service and staffing service.

Meanwhile, a for sale sign also sits in front of the Duncansville location.

Jones Lang LaSalle of Mechanicsburg is marketing the warehouse/distribution building on behalf of PVH Corp.

The size of the property is 31.79 acres. The building is 239,364 square feet, which includes 20,164 square feet of existing office space. The property includes 25 dock-high loading doors with a 19-foot ceiling, and parking for 300 plus cars and trailer parking. The price is negotiable.

“We have listed it for sale or lease, but Warnaco would prefer to sell the facility,” said Jason Webb, vice president of industrial services at Jones Lang LaSalle. “We have had some inquiries but nothing imminent yet. There has been a decent amount of interest in the property.”

The Huntingdon facility, not owned by PVH Corp., is available for sublease, Webb said.

A brochure for that property indicates there is an immediate availability of 241,000 square feet with the opportunity for up to 350,000 (contiguous expansion). Existing demising walls would allow it to be broken down into smaller units if necessary. It has 25 dock-high loading doors and abundant car parking is available. The property is fully secured with fencing and a guard shack. The asking price is $2 per square foot plus operating expenses.

“Activity has been a little quiet. We have had some interest but not to the level of Duncansville,” Webb said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.