Northeast Building Products Customer News

 

CNN Interviews CEO Alan Levin of Northeast Building Products 

Jan. 11th, 2011

When Adam Kaliner told 200 office workers at Power Windows & Siding that he and cousin Jeff were moving their home-improvement firm in suburban Brookhaven to rundown Chester, they found it "daunting, and a little scary," he says.

But Power had outgrown the Brookhaven building and crowded parking lot where the Kaliners had arrived six years before from Newark, Del.

They checked out Buccini/Pollin Group's Baldwin Tower, the old locomotive-company office in Eddystone. Kaliner liked the "classic" look, but the up-and-down-stairs layout "didn't suit us," he said.

Sales agent Brendan Kelly sent them to the Wharf at Rivertown, Buccini's rebuilt former Delaware County Power Co. generating station, which developer Michael O'Neill turned into offices at the end of the 1990s.

The state-subsidized PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union soccer team, next door - and new ramps to I-95, U.S. 322, and the Commodore Barry Bridge to New Jersey, to open later this winter - helped sell the Kaliners.

A $200,000 state grant sweetened the deal so they could buy new furniture. The facility is also in a sales-tax-exempt Keystone Opportunity Zone, though that benefit is scheduled to expire in the next few years.

"We're planning on adding 90 jobs a year" at the headquarters - accounting, call center, recruiting, Kaliner said. The office supports the trucking and dispatch center at Alan and Fran Levin's Northeast Building Products in Northeast Philadelphia, plus existing regional operations in Cranford, N.J.; Greenbelt, Md.; and Stratford, Conn., and planned expansion in Long Island, Boston, and Atlanta later this year. All will be funded internally, without bank loans or investors.

How can Power expect to grow so fast? Federal tax breaks for energy savings have boosted demand, though they are scheduled to diminish this year. Plus, says Kaliner, "a lot of competitors closed their doors." One local rival, Windowizards, suspended operations - temporarily, it said - after problems with a supplier last month.

Gov. Rendell is scheduled to help dedicate the new Power office Tuesday. He gave more aid to a rival foreign company last year, U.K.-based Mark Group, which was given $3.3 million in state loans and grants to pick a site at the Navy Yard, where it said it will hire 300.