The Wasserstrom Co. will end its five-decade relationship with the Brewery District next year, when the business and its 225 employees move to Whitehall.

The Wasserstrom Co. will end its five-decade relationship with the Brewery District next year, when the business and its 225 employees move to Whitehall.

Carl Seiley, president of the Brewery District Trade Association and co-owner of Vue, an event venue, said Wasserstrom would be missed.

"It's sad to see them leave and we're glad to see they were such a cornerstone of the area for some time, as a business and also as a community partner," Seiley said.

At the same time, a new tenant could build on the synergy of the district's emerging entertainment-oriented nature, he said.

"We're very excited because it opens up this new opportunity in the area in the right time, while the area is experiencing resurgence, going in a new, different direction," Seiley said.

Brad Wasserstrom, president of the restaurant-equipment supplier, said the building at 477 S. Front St. no longer meets the needs of the company.

"It's just not very efficient for what we need," he said.

The plan is to be moved entirely by next summer.

He said over the years, the company's headquarters has taken over several adjacent spaces that now include about five separate parcels, totaling 56,000 square feet and ranging in age from 50 to 100 years old.

The company, founded in 1902, will move into a 50,000-square-foot building at 4500 E. Broad St.

Although the Whitehall space is smaller, it will allow the company to create more room for growth and has the infrastructure to accommodate technology upgrades, Wasserstrom said.

"For us, being in the downtown area is not a necessity," he said.

Wasserstrom is taking advantage of state job-creation incentives worth $312,480, the estimated value of the credit over six years, providing the company creates 120 jobs and $4.8 million in new annual payroll.

The city of Whitehall, meanwhile, has granted Wasserstrom a 10-year, $1.3 million tax abatement as long as the company guarantees a payroll of $12 million annually.

"I know that right now, we're getting onboard some significant customers that will spur some significant growth," Wasserstrom said.

Gail Martineau, spokeswoman for Whitehall, said Wasserstrom has already agreed to be a good community partner by getting involved in many local events.

"We're very excited to have Wasserstrom for a variety of reasons," she said. "Personally I'm really excited because their enthusiasm for the community is unrivaled."

The move from the Brewery District comes with a wide range of emotions, Wasserstrom said.

"For our family, it's very bittersweet," he said. "We have a lot of great memories here.

"We moved to the Brewery District before it became nice."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary