PIQUA — The former Orr Felt building recently sold for $175,000, bringing in a new company expected to restart productions at the site within a year.
Orr Felt and Blanket Company sold to For-Tech USA, LLC in August, according to county records. A previous advertisement for the site on World Wide Commercial Realty had the Orr Felt building listed for $800,000.
The former Orr Felt building sits on approximately 6.33 acres with 300,000 square feet of space.
Title issues regarding the site were straightened out prior to the sale. In June, the Piqua City Commission approved a request for the city to vacate the public right-of-way of an alley that was still listed as being located underneath the former Orr Felt building.
A limited liability company (LLC) for U.S. operations for a company called For-Tech USA, LLC was established for the site in March. An Italian company called Cristini Felts is reportedly the parent company behind For-Tech USA, LLC.
A representative for Cristini Felts declined to comment at this time.
Piqua City Manager Gary Huff said this week that the new company taking Orr Felt’s place is expected to start up production within a year and that they produce the same type of felt paper as Orr Felt previously made, which was papermaker’s felt.
If the company opens a production line at the facility, they are considering adding 20 to 25 employees to the operations, according to previous reports. That was around the number of employees that Orr Felt had when they closed.
Orr Felt closed in June 2016, and its history goes back to 1848, when Young and Yeager Textiles in Piqua, one of the first textile companies in the Midwest, began producing woolen fabrics, fleeces, and coarse materials.
In 1901, A.M. Orr and his father, Colonel W.P. Orr bought the company and reorganized it as the Orr Felt Company, manufacturing blankets, and papermaker’s felt.
The 1913 flood caused extensive damage to the plant and equipment. After repairs were completed, the plant was scheduled to reopen. The day before reopening, the plant was destroyed by fire. Following rebuilding, the company discontinued the manufacture of worsteds, a type of wool yarn.
The company maintained slow, steady growth during the Depression.
During World War II, the Orr Felt Company produced about 250,000 blankets for the Army and Navy, plus olive-drab woolen lining, which was used in military sleeping bags.
In 1964, under new owner Dimitri P. Nicholas, the company reorganized and replaced old machinery with modern production equipment. In 1990, Nicholas sold the company to his family. After that, his son, Dimitri M. Nicholas, was the president and retained sole ownership of the company until its closing.
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