Park Corporation has a division for all seasons. Areas of involvement for the privately held company span the manufacture of machinery and components for the steel and energy industries; the distribution of metalworking and mining equipment; the sale of integrated steel products; and service of oil refining and power generation operations. Other areas include private aircraft services, convention and trade show services, commercial and industrial real estate development, and fixed-income and private equity investments. The company is owned by Cleveland financier Ray Park.
Among Park Corp.'s diverse investments, its West Virginia, auto body stamping plant offers a window into the company's ambitions. Park Corp. has owned the plant's building since 1969, leasing it to a series of tenants, including Chrysler Corp., Volkswagen of America Inc., and Union Stamping. Union Stamping went bankrupt in 2006 and Park Corp. snagged the presses and remaining machinery.
Teaming up with former associate and automotive manufacturing executive John Wise, Ray Park aimed to restart operations under a new name, Charleston Stamping & Manufacturing, Inc. (CSM). By 2007 the Cleveland financier had invested $20 million and gained the governor of West Virginia's additional commitment of $15 million in state funding. The state's financing went to buy the robots and press lines, and to lease back the equipment to the company. (By leasing, Park Corp. pays no property taxes on the equipment, effectively lowering its interest rate on the purchase.) The plant readied for production, advertised for help in 2008, and in 2009 courted the business of Volkswagen Group of America. The Park Corp., however, closed the plant at the end of August 2009, but then reopened it in 2012 for lease to Spanish automotive company Gestamp, which announced plans to use it to provide stamping for Honda and Ford. – less