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Northeast to add factory at ex-Cardone site

Door and window maker will add 50 jobs

The former Cardone Industries plant at 327 E. Chew Ave. in Philadelphia's Olney section has been acquired by Northeast Building Products, Alan Levin's vinyl-window and fiberglas-and-steel entry-door maker, for $1.75 million, and will be turned into a manufacturing plant, Levin told me.

Levin said New Jersey officials had offered to subsidize a new plant if he would move production out of the city. "Pennsauken made a nice run at us. But we decided to stay in Philly," Levin told me "I'm born and raised here, I went to Northeast High School." He's staying, even though Philadelphia and Pennsylvania didn't try to match Jersey's offer? "We try to be as independent as we can be," Levin said. The company, whose past clients include federal agencies as well as commercial builders, currently employs 330 in the city.

Northeast plans "to hire approximately 50 new employees over three years" at the 170,000 sq. ft, 8-acre site, said Richard Gorodesky, senior vice president at Colliers International, which brokered the sale. The move is a net expansion for Northeast: the company plans to keep its other Philadelphia plants open, except a 19,000 sq ft building at 4926 Benner St. (corrected), which Colliers is offering for sale.

Levin's decision helps make the case that "manufacturing is not dead," in Philadelphia, added Gorodesky. He said Colliers has sold a total of four former Cardone plants, mostly to industrial users, in recent years, as the company shifted production to low-wage Texas and nearby Mexico.

Cardone, which refurbishes auto parts, employs around 2,300 in the city, said spokesman Pete Peterson. That's down from around 4,000 in the mid-2000s, though the company remains one of the city's largest remaining manufacturers.  Cardone has kept its headquarters, battery-making, research and other key operations in Philadelphia, Peterson told me.