Pioneer’s plans moves ahead

Gloversville engineer Steven Smith presents Pioneer Window’s proposed expansion project to the Johnstown City Planning Board Tuesday at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — A public hearing was set Tuesday by the city Planning Board for a planned 120,000-square-foot plant expansion at the Pioneer Window Manufacturing Corp. at the Johnstown Industrial Park.

The board also acted at City Hall to declare itself lead state Environmental Quality Review agency for the project. The project could add an additional 40 to 60 manufacturing jobs on top of 140 employed now by Pioneer, officials said.

The board set the hearing for Pioneer’s expansion site plan application for 4 p.m. April 3 at City Hall. Board Chairman Peter K. Smith said the board may approve the project on that date.

The 120,000-square-foot expansion would add to 160,000 square feet currently at the 200 Union Ave. Ext. building

Pioneer’s expansion project received kudos from those in attendance.

“We are fully behind the project,” said Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President/CEO Ron Peters. “It’s a good project.”

Peters said it is his understanding a “new window line” will be added through the expansion.

The CRG has in recent months worked with Pioneer Window to stay in the area. Peters told Fulton County supervisors this winter that Pioneer, which purchased its building, now plans to stay in the area after it considered relocating downstate.

James Mraz, executive director of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, said Pioneer may also reach out to his agency.

“We’re anticipating an application from Pioneer ourselves for some IDA benefits,” Mraz told the board.

Gloversville engineer Steven Smith, representing Pioneer, said the longtime local window manfacturer’s expansion will be “very similar” to the existing building. He said there may be a firewall between the two buildings.

“It’s a larger space to build windows the same as their doing currently,” Smith said.

Smith said his client is acquiring another lot east of the existing facility as part of the expansion to make it work. He said the current 120,000-square-foot proposal doesn’t meet a local zoning stipulation that buildings should not be more than 50 percent of the land area.

He also noted there is a sewer and water line next to the current building.

“We’re going to cavalierly build on that sewer line,” he said. “What we’re going to do is put the whole thing in the building. That’s kind of a unique and amusing aspect of this project.”

Smith said the expansion will be built over the line, which will be inside the building with grates. He said Pioneer will actually have more access to the line with the build.

Regarding stormwater, Smith said Pioneer will utilize underground plastic Contech domes where water will go in. In that way, he said any conventional retention pond would actually be hiding under asphalt with the project.

With parking, Smith said Pioneer may be shy some spots, but is trying to gain as many as it can by refiguring the lot and using spots not used before.

“We’re going to re-lay the parking that’s in front of the building,” the engineer said.

According to Pioneer’s website, the company is a full-service supplier of architectural windows, doors, curtain walls, storefronts and other architectural aluminum products for residential, commercial and institutional buildings such as: luxury high-rise apartments, schools, housing authority projects, colleges and universities, hospitals, and libraries. Pioneer is a certified manufacturer for the New York City School Construction Authority.

The website adds: “Vincent J. Amato Jr. founded Pioneer Window Mfg. Corp. in 1994 after more than a decade in the window installation business in the highly competitive New York City market.”

The website indicates the Johnstown operation “houses state-of-the-art equipment that allows Pioneer to lead the industry with higher performing products and shorter lead times.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Kerry Minor

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