As reported by the Knox County Area Development Foundation, for the first time since 1883, the deed for the Cooper Progress Park property is in the name of someone other than “Cooper.” This is in no small part due to the efforts of the Critchfield real estate team, including attorney Zachary DiMarco, who provided legal counsel on the deal.
C. & G. Cooper & Co. was founded in 1833 by Charles and Elias Cooper in Mount Vernon, where they opened a foundry and engaged in the manufacture of plows, kettles, and stoves. By the end of the 19th century, the company was concentrating on the production of steam engines. The property on which the company operated subsequently housed operations run by Rolls Royce, then Siemens. When Siemens departed Mount Vernon a few years ago, so did hundreds of jobs and the industrial area, known as Cooper Progress Park, was largely abandoned.
Over the last year and a half, the Critchfield team has been working with counsel to the successor of Cooper Cameron – an international company called Schlumberger – to secure ownership of the old Siemens plant for the Knox Land Bank for ultimate redevelopment. As of last week, The Knox Land Bank acquired title to a majority of the real estate, with the rest coming soon – in order to facilitate a planned commercial development district with multiple users and owners bringing back jobs to downtown Mount Vernon. This was a huge step forward for economic development in Mount Vernon.