Plans unveiled for $70M industrial park in Berks

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Rendering shows the entrance to the
proposed hamburg Logistics Park in Perry
Township, a $70 million industrial park
which would include three buildings.
Rendering shows the entrance to the proposed hamburg Logistics Park in Perry Township, a $70 million industrial park which would include three buildings.

As demand for distribution services escalates in the region, one firm is looking to meet that need by building a $70 million industrial park on 165 acres of a golf course along Route 61 in Berks County.

Key Development Group’s plan for Hamburg Logistics Park in Perry Township is to construct three buildings – totaling more than 2.2 million square feet – on the site of Perry Golf Course that would bring about 650 jobs, James Clymer said. Clymer and his son Matthew are partners in Key Development, a West Chester-based real estate firm that develops office parks and industrial and distribution centers.

The largest building would be 1.354 million square feet, the second 504,000 square feet and the third 384,350 square feet. The plan is for light industrial and distribution users.

“We have some tenants who have expressed interest,” James Clymer said. Key Development Group has not yet secured any tenants and likely won’t until final approval of the project, he said.

Key Development still needs to resolve preliminary land development plan approval conditions and final land development plan approval from the township, Clymer said. The road intersection improvements required for the project are a Perry Township project, and state Department of Transportation approval is required for that.

The firm has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, and Key Development’s application for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection/Army Corps of Engineers joint permit is pending.

“The approvals are government decisions,” Clymer said. “We are hopeful that they will be completed in the early part of 2014.”

If everything falls into place, construction could begin by mid-2014, Clymer said.

Perry Golf Course is still in operation as Key Development has not yet closed on the property, Clymer said. The land is zoned commercial/light industrial.

The firm has been working on plans for about a year, Clymer said.

With employees in distribution centers now using more sophisticated, technological equipment and shipping methods, there is a real need for these types of jobs in the county, Clymer said.

The site is a couple of miles from the Hamburg exit off Interstate 78. Farther west off I-78 is another Berks County project being built: Berks Park 78, an industrial park in Bethel Township.

The two projects signal Berks County as a major destination for industrial activity and distribution centers – a label also enjoyed by Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Clymer said Key Development received great support from the Berks County Commissioners and the Greater Reading Economic Partnership, a nonprofit agency that helps businesses with economic development needs.

Jon Scott, president and CEO of GREP, described the project as a big win for the region, as well as Berks County.

“The Hamburg Logistics Park is a great opportunity to add more available land and inventory for commercial and industrial development, something that we truly need throughout all of Berks County,” Scott said.

“It certainly would have a very positive impact for the Perry community in terms of enhanced taxes and other funds that are possible coming through Harrisburg as well; it certainly would be of great benefit to the school district.”

If approved, the project will generate more than $1 million in taxes annually to the Hamburg Area School District, Clymer said.

The new real estate tax for Perry Township is expected to be $32,000 annually, almost double what the township collects now, Clymer said.

With this project, Clymer said, his firm estimates the earned income tax would exceed $250,000.

Also, he said, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development notified the Perry Township Municipal Authority that the authority has been awarded a Penn Works grant of $800,000 through the state DCED to build a new sewer interceptor line.

Key Development’s land planning and engineering consultant is Snyder, Secary and Associates LLC of Harrisburg. Clymer said he has not selected an architect.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools.

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