BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Republic Steel Corp., which mothballed steel-making operations at its South Buffalo plant in mid-1982, announced Tuesday it will never reopen the facility.
'Our decision to write off our Buffalo operations, some of which have been idled for for more than two years, is an illustration of our continuing effort to reduce fixed costs,' said Republic Chairman E. Bradley Jones.
Jones added the move by the Cleveland-based steelmaker was also a 'recognition that the future demand for the products produced at Buffalo is not likely to be sufficient to warrant a resumption of operations.'
The Buffalo facility once employed 2,500 workers, producing steel bars and other products for the automobile and railroad industries. Republic idled the plant indefinitely in June 1982 due to poor business conditions.
The Republic annoucement was another blow to the western New York economy, which has endured through double-digit unemployment figures. The Bethlehem Steel Corp. plant in Lackawanna, which at one time employed over 7,000 workers, ended steelmaking operations there at the end of 1983.
Mayor James Griffin, who along with Erie County Executive Edward Rutkowski and other local officials, had met with Republic management about the future of the plant and had remained optimistic.
'We were hoping against hope,' he said. 'But the other shoe has been dropped.'
The mayor said he 'hoped another business' would come in and purchase the idle plant, pointing to what he said were '$40 million in improvements' made at the facility.