Starting next spring, two eyesores in Franklin — the former Mindlin Recycling and the former Franklin Boxboard plant — will be demolished to make way for a new development opportunity in the city.
Cohen Recycling will close its fiber processing operations and customer drop-off at 666 Riley Blvd. in Franklin on Nov. 30, shifting those operations and six employees to its Middletown recycling facility beginning Dec. 1.
In an announcement Monday, Cohen Recycling said the decision to close the Franklin facility and move the operations to Middletown was motivated by limited space and opportunities for improvement.
“The ability to grow the fiber division alongside our core metal recycling business is limited by the footprint of the property, so we had to start looking elsewhere” said Neil Cohen, owner.
Cohen Recycling announced that both buildings would be demolished in spring 2019. No jobs will be affected by the move, and as this segment of the business grows, so does the potential to add new positions to support it, according to the company.
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“We look forward to working together with the City of Franklin on the development of an attractive gateway to the community,” said Geoff Rosenberg, vice president of outside operations.
While Franklin officials said they hated to see a business close and move, Franklin Mayor Todd Hall said “it opens up an opportunity on that corner that we’ve been trying to clean up for years.”
Hall said he hopes the city will be able to find something that’s business friendly.
“This is a win for them and a win for the city,” he said. “We understand that it was a business decision and we appreciated their ability to work with the city. It presents an opportunity for the city and Cohen.”
Councilman Denny Centers who regularly complained about the former recycling facility’s appearance, said he was happy to hear the employees would be keeping their jobs.
“I’m glad to see it go … it was an eyesore being in the center of town,” he said. “Things are changing in Franklin.”
City Manager Sonny Lewis said the city was notified on Friday about the pending announcement on Monday by Rosenberg. He said the former owner of Mindlin Recycling, Pacey Mindlin, was always a good corporate citizen and Cohen continued that tradition by becoming involved in the city and school system.
“It’s an exciting time for the city,” Lewis said. “It’s also a critical point for that site and see Franklin move forward and see something great at that site. We need to make sure we get this right so we don’t have any regrets later.”
In September 2017, Cohen Recycling acquired the century old Mindlin Recycling business in Franklin with plans to renovate that facility. The company added the broad base of metal and electronics recycling to the existing cardboard and paper capabilities. The decision to move fiber processing was motivated by limited space and opportunities for improvement. The company also determined the old Franklin Boxboard facility was an unsuitable option for the fiber processing operation.
Two months later in November 2017, Cohen Holdings Inc. acquired the former Franklin Boxboard site adjacent to the Mindlin recycling operation. Franklin Boxboard had ceased operations in 2011. The building was purchased by another company, but never reopened.
Founded in 1924 and family-owned for four generations, Cohen Recycling is the largest scrap metal recycler in the region, with more than 20 locations in four Midwest states. Cohen processes more than 1 million tons of metal annually and has recently expanded into electronics recycling for both consumers and businesses.
Cohen, which is headquartered in Middletown, employs approximately 550 people.
The Middletown recycler’s facility, located at 3120 S. Verity Parkway opened in 2010. Customers who previously brought material to the Franklin recycling center may begin using the Middletown location on Dec. 1.