Natural Fiber Welding eyes former Pioneer Parkway Shopko for new manufacturing space
It appears a portion of the former Shopko building on Pioneer Parkway may soon play host to a Natural Fiber Welding manufacturing space.
The Peoria Planning and Zoning Board on Thursday unanimously approved amending an existing special use in the commercial area to allow for NFW's plans to install four demonstration fiber welding machines within a leased 23,000 square foot segment of the 130,000 square foot former shopping center space.
"We wouldn't certainly want it to impact any other function of the property," said Community Development senior planner Leah Allison. "And it should still be able to remain a shopping center, with traditional uses that come with a shopping center, in addition to the Natural Fiber Welding business, as well."
Allison said there will be no changes to parking, the building's mechanical layout, or landscaping. Community Development director Joe Dulin said the building is under new ownership as of last November. The new owners have worked to remediate the space, including abating mold issues, Dulin said.
NFW director of engineering Matt Nelson said the Clarus textile technology has outgrown the space at their Galena Road facility, but isn't yet ready to be produced at a commercialized scale.
An odor can be put off by the natural inputs used in the manufacturing process. Nelson said the manufacturing facility will vent vertically through the roof to minimize the impact.
"As of lately, with the inputs that we've been bringing in, the odor has pretty much been very minimal at this point in time," Nelson said. "So we don't expect there to be any impact on our neighbors with this."
Peoria Planning and Zoning board chairman Michael Wiesehan said he was glad to see something finally going into the former Shopko space.
NFW expects to employ 15 people in the Pioneer Parkway facility, which the company hopes to open up by May 1.
The special use amendment now heads to the Peoria City Council for approval.