ELK Lighting, Inc., a Nesquehoning-based residential and commercial lighting designer, has purchased the former Hanesbrands, Inc. warehouse facility in the Tidewood East Industrial Park, Hometown.

The property transfer was recorded last week as ELK Lighting closed on the parcel. According to transfer records at the Schuylkill County Courthouse, the purchase price was reportedly $1.75 million.

"It was a standard cash transaction between Hanesbrands and ELK," said Gerald Heffner, vice president of Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO), a consultant to Tamaqua Industrial Development Enterprises (TIDE), which operates the Tidewood East Park off of Route 309. "There were no state funds involved."

The 132,000-square-foot facility was originally constructed by the former J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills as a warehouse and was later taken over by Sara Lee, which had bought Morgan Mills from Dawson International in 1999, to store products for its Hanes brand apparel line.

Sara Lee/Hanesbrands continued to keep its warehouse and distribution operation in Hometown for a time, even after it closed the manufacturing end of the business.

The building had been available for sale since Hanesbrands moved its warehouse operations from Hometown to Winston-Salem, N.C. and California.

According to the company's Web site, ELK Lighting, formed in 1983 by lighting industry insiders Adoph Ebenstein, Russell King and Jonathan Lesko, has several facilities not far from Hometown, including Walnutport, Summit Hill and a showroom/customer service center in Nesquehoning.

"We plan to use this as a distribution warehouse and for shipping," said Brad Smith, ELK Lighting chief executive officer, when contacted by telephone about the sale.

Since the facility was built for storage and shipping, it will serve the needs of ELK Lighting well, stated Heffner.

"Their business is growing, and they need additional space," Heffner explained. "They are planning to consolidate some of their operations but are not closing existing facilities."

"The building is still pretty new, so there's very little for us to do to it, structurally," explained Smith. "It is already set up for shipping, and we ship to all parts of the world."

"They are planning just a few minor renovations during the new year," added Heffner.

Smith projected that the newly-acquired ELK Lighting facility will employ between 20-25 workers.

"They are looking at growth over a three-year period and could employ up to 40," related Heffner.

"The purchase by ELK of the Hanesbrands facility in Tidewood Industrial Park is a very positive development for the Tamaqua area," said TIDE President Dr. Joseph Urenovitch. "ELK is a successful international supplier of high quality lighting that could bring 40 to 45 jobs over time to the area."