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Global manufacturer makes $15M investment in new Bethlehem site

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(Contributed) J.G. Petrucci Co. Inc. is building this space for Alpla Inc., a global manufacturer opening a facility in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII in Bethlehem.
(Contributed) J.G. Petrucci Co. Inc. is building this space for Alpla Inc., a global manufacturer opening a facility in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII in Bethlehem.

A global manufacturer of plastic packaging products is making its entry into the Greater Lehigh Valley with its first facility in the region.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that Alpla Inc. will open a facility in Bethlehem and create 59 new jobs over three years. The facility will go up in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII off Route 412.

The site, at 2120 Spillman Drive, is a pad-ready site to be built by Lehigh Valley developer, with Alpla leasing the space, said Michael Gerber, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development.

J.G. Petrucci Co. Inc. of Hanover Township, Northampton County, will own and build the site.

“We broke ground early this week; construction is expected to wrap up in July 2018,” said Patrice Kane, marketing director for J.G. Petrucci.

Alpla, which manufactures plastic bottles and caps, was founded in Austria in 1955 and has its North American headquarters in Georgia.

The site will be 243,000 square feet for Alpla, with 80,000 square feet available for lease to another tenant after construction is done, Kane said.

The project includes leasehold improvements, installation of compressors and resin silos and the acquisition of equipment and computers. Alpla will invest $15.2 million, the company said in a news release.

Alpla received a funding proposal from the DCED for a $177,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $177,000 in job creation tax credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs.

The company has been encouraged to apply for a $1.5 million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority to help with equipment purchases.

The Pennsylvania First grant is distributed in stages. The company submits receipts for eligible expenses and the grant reimburses those expenses.

‘ALIVE AND WELL’

The Governor’s Action Team coordinated the project. This group of economic development professionals reports directly to the governor and works with businesses that are considering locating to or expanding in Pennsylvania.

“It’s always great when a company chooses to invest in the Lehigh Valley and create new jobs in the region, Don Cunningham, president and CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., said in a statement. “This further illustrates that manufacturing is alive and well in the Lehigh Valley. It’s the second-largest sector of the regional economy and makes up 70 percent of our current prospects for economic growth.”

LVEDC also had conversations with Alpla about financing incentives, but ultimately did not go with any of them.

“This epitomizes the projects we are seeking in LVIP VII creating family sustaining jobs,” said Kerry Wrobel, president of Lehigh Valley Industrial Park Inc. “We appreciate the work of the J.G. Petrucci family. For us, it’s our second rail-served manufacturing site.”

RESPONSIVE

Alpla manufactures a variety of plastic packaging items for diverse contents, including shower gel, engine oil, detergent and lemonade. Aside from bottles, Alpla makes caps in custom-made shapes such as hinged lids, measuring caps, two-part caps, round lids, caps for safety packaging and sticks.

“Alpla is very appreciative of the efforts by the Governor’s Action Team,” said Peter Irby, director of finance at Alpla Inc., in a statement. “They were responsive to our needs and easy to work with. We are looking forward to our future in the Bethlehem area.”

The project marks one of many for J.G. Petrucci in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park. The most recent properties developed by the company include Vastex, Reeb Millwork, J.B. Hunt and Curtiss-Wright.

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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. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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