"Money, Money, Money!"
by Eric Wolf, AMTRAN General ManagerTuesday, September 4, 2007 | Categories:
You may remember Norman Glucroft’s famous commercials, “Come to Roaring River Mills where you save only money. Money, Money, Money!” In line with Mr. Glucroft’s slogan, AMTRAN hopes that the Roaring River Mills property will “save only money” for the bus company.
Chairman Scott Cessna stated, “There are two reasons for an organization to make a capital investment - to save money or to make money. The Roaring River Mills project will do both for us.”
The statewide transportation funding debate made a lot of news over the past few months with Governor Rendell visiting Altoona twice to highlight the problem. Act 44 has solved the immediate crisis for highways and public transportation, but having lived through such a crisis, it behooves us to look for opportunities to save money or make money anywhere we can.
The FTA’s Joint Development Program allows us to renovate the former Gold’s Gym building facing 5th Avenue to help us save money by reducing daily operating costs. The program also allows us to partner with a private developer to redevelop the Roaring River Mills property facing 6th Avenue to help us make money through a land lease. One option is to renovate the old Roaring River Mills building. Another option may be to tear down the building and redevelop the property as retail, office, or light industrial depending on what the local market dictates.
Capital vs. Operating
The funding that AMTRAN will use for this project is federal capital funding through the efforts of Congressman Bill Shuster, Senator Arlen Specter, and Senator Bob Casey. These capital grants cannot be used for operating expenses, but the revenue from leasing the property can be used for day-to-day operations.
The Bottom Line
So why is AMTRAN trying to purchase and redevelop the Roaring River Mills property? The simplest answer is to quote Mr. Glucroft’s commercials from years gone by, “Money, Money, Money!”