Charles Chrin Companies hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 31 for the $40 million interchange off Route 33 between the interchanges for routes 191 and 248.
Gov. Tom Corbett served as the keynote speaker for the event at Porsche Logistics, near the interchange construction site in Palmer Township. The land surrounding the roadway is owned by Palmer Township developer Charles Chrin.
The company said the development of the surrounding land should create 5,000 jobs and generate $16 million in annual tax revenue. While 800 acres of land eyed for development are in Palmer Township, the project reaches parts of seven municipalities, including Tatamy, Forks Township, Nazareth and Stockertown.
"This 800-acre site and new interchange provides the best opportunity for economic growth and new jobs in Northampton County since the opening up of the former Bethlehem Steel site in South Bethlehem," said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. prior to the ceremony. "This is a multi-faceted location that has extraordinary potential for a multitude of uses ranging from manufacturing and production to logistics and office development."
Though Cunningham said it was too early in the process to know exactly who the end users would be, he said light manufacturing, professional office tenants, and food and beverage processing facilities would be appropriate businesses. The land also offers some space for retail.
"New locations in the Lehigh Valley are in demand right now and the Chrin property is perfectly situated to add jobs and new businesses to the Lehigh Valley," said Cunningham. "It's really unlimited, the type of uses that can go there."
DCT Industrial, an owner of light industrial and bulk distribution properties, is among the first businesses expected to locate a site in the new development according to David Colver, chairman of the Palmer Township board of supervisors.
The site where DCT would build a facility is at the corner of Hollo and Van Buren Road, not far from where the new interchange would be built.
The other business could not be named yet, but would be located at the northwest corner of Main Street, said Colver.
The company said the first phase of the new development is approved for 1.6 million square feet of build out, which will create more than 1,000 jobs.
Porsche Logistics, located in the Chrin Commerce Centre, opened in 2009 and serves as a parts distribution, technical training and development facility.
Over 300 acres of land in the Chrin Commerce Centre is currently under contract for future development.
Construction for the interchange project should begin in April or May and last about 18 months. The entire bridge on Main Street over Route 33 will be replaced and be expanded from two lanes to six lanes with a pedestrian walkway, said Colver.