More than 400 real estate and construction professionals joined Lehigh Valley Business for a Real Estate and Development Symposium this morning at DeSales University Center.
Highlights included an economic forecast with Luke Tilley, officer and economic adviser of Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia who shared insights on the robust growth found in the Greater Lehigh Valley and the national and regional economy.
Speaking of the national economy, Tilley spoke of confidence.
"The second half of last year was significantly higher than the first half," he said. "We entered 2014 in a much stronger position."
Joe Fitzpatrick, shareholder and founder of Fitzpatrick, Lentz & Bubba in Upper Saucon Township, led a panel discussion on major projects including the Chrin Route 33 Interchange in Palmer Township, City Center Lehigh Valley in Allentown and the Bethlehem City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ).
In each of these municipalities, tax incentives offer a boost to developers seeking tenants and construction work for economic development projects.
Speakers included Dave Colver, chairman of the Palmer Township Board of Supervisors; Jim Harbaugh, executive vice president and chief operating officer of City Center Lehigh Valley and Alicia Miller Karner, director of community and economic development for Bethlehem.
Colver unveiled plans for a new $150 million development in the Chrin Industrial Park for a 200-acre 1.1-million-square-foot warehouse distribution center.
Final approval for the $65 million phase one of the project is expected by May with construction to begin this summer. Phase two is a $35 million project. The entire project, which should ultimately consist of four buildings is expected to be complete in about 3 years, he said.
Don Cunningham, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., led a panel discussion on "What's Hot and what's not in the Commercial, Industrial, Office and Residential Real Estate Markets in the Lehigh Valley."
For this panel, experts discussed growth area of these sectors and outlined what projects will be taking shape in the years to come.
Speakers included Bill Wolf, executive vice president of CBRE; Doug Frederick, commercial real estate broker for The Frederick Group; and David Jaindl, owner and president of Jaindl Land Co.
Networking opportunities abounded throughout the event as dozens of companies displayed their exhibits until 11:30 a.m.