Allentown has numerous properties and buildings that were either used for light/heavy manufacturing and can be converted to modern manufacturing use. In some cases, AEDC already owns these properties and has either commenced or completed remediation efforts. In others, it can assist business owners, site selectors and entrepreneurs in purchasing, rehabilitating and renovating these properties and structures for light industrial purposes.
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Based in the Bridgeworks Industrial Center, Terra Group Corp. is a 15-year-old company founded by civil engineer Primo Acernese that is in the middle of a multi-year, $50 million contract to provide Lightweight Water Purification Systems (LWPS) to the Marines and U.S. Navy. These portable-tactical emergency water systems allow the forward units to purify water from just about any source, such as a lake, stream, river or ocean and are capable of removing even chemical, biological and nuclear contaminants.
Founded in 1997 on Harrison Street, Terra Group turned to the Allentown Economic Development Corp (AEDC) and moved to the Bridgeworks Industrial Center – next door to the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix – in 2009 when it acquired the initial Marine Corps contract and needed a quick and dramatic expansion, Acernese said during a recent tour.
“I had virtually no help from any of the finance institutions in the (Lehigh) Valley. The Marine Corps financed this project. AEDC responded by opening up this space. They were the biggest help I had at the time and they facilitated our move-in and start-up.”