Lumber company new owner of former Harden plant

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McCONNELLSVILLE — The former Harden Furniture company plant property at 8550 Mill Pond Way in McConnellsville is now owned by the B&B company of Jamesville, whose lumber operations include manufacturing pallets.

A 15.6-acre parcel at the Mill Pond Way address was deeded last summer from Gregory Harden to B&BRI LLC of P.O. Box 420 in Jamesville for a $700,000 consideration, according to the Oneida County Clerk’s office. The P.O. Box 420 address in Jamesville is the address of B&B Lumber Company, while Gregory Harden is the former CEO of the Harden company.

The B&B Lumber office on Thursday said B&B owns the 8550 Mill Pond Way site. But a company official did not return phone and email messages seeking further comment. Gregory Harden on Tuesday had no comment about the property’s status.

Harden had said in late 2018 that a deal had been reached to sell the shuttered plant complex, and that he had hoped to complete the transaction by the end of the 2019 first quarter. He subsequently said last May that some issues were taking longer than anticipated to resolve before the sale could be completed.

A state Department of Environmental Conservation document online notes a permit issued to B&B Lumber Company for the facility at 8550 Mill Pond Way. The document refers to an air pollution control/air state facility permit, and refers to activities in categories including sawmills and planing mills, plus steam supply.

B&B Lumber, established in 1973, has grown from a small family-owned mill to become one of the Northeast’s largest pallet manufacturers, according to its website.

The Harden Furniture company, meanwhile, dated back about 175 years but ceased local operations in the fall of 2018 after operating sporadically that year amid ongoing financial problems. The company at its peak had over 500 employees and a 400,000-square-foot facility, Gregory Harden has said. He had been the fifth generation of Hardens to run the company.

Certain Harden company assets had been acquired by Big Shoulders Capital (BSC) of Illinois at a January 2018 auction. BSC about a year ago conducted a sealed-bid auction for the Harden company’s intellectual assets including its brand name. Gregory Harden has been seeking to reacquire the intellectual property from BSC.

Harden said Monday that BSC was in litigation with another party and that had held up a sale.

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