Leather processing and leather goods manufacturing is a type of business that has been struck two-fold in the post-WWII era. The initial challenge came from the competition created by introduction of new and alternative materials starting in the 1950s. Later on, low-cost imports from low-cost wage countries posed the deadly strike.
The process known as leather tanning involves usage of chrome salts and given the 80 years of operation of this particular site, there has been considerable spills and deposits of waste nearby. Together with other spills and oil contamination, the entire site has been a headache for the local community for years. An costly but inevitably clean-up operation has been planned for the last years.
Update August 2008: It seems like there is now finally a pile of money found that has lead to a a go-ahead decision for demolition and clean-up. Some signs of action since I was there for the first time can be seen. Given the determination I've seen the recent years, I wouldn't be surprised if the place is gone in a year from now.
Update October 2010: Most of the site appears to have been demolished now.