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Construction starts on Hamburg Commerce Park after property sells for $32M

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(Contributed)
This image shows a completed industrial building in Hamburg Commerce Park, which began construction off Route 61 in Berks County.
(Contributed) This image shows a completed industrial building in Hamburg Commerce Park, which began construction off Route 61 in Berks County.

A local commercial real estate firm is collaborating with a development company from North Carolina to develop a 209-acre Class-A industrial campus in Berks County, with construction starting today on the first building.

The Keith Corp., headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and Kiel Group LLC of Upper Saucon Township are collaborating to create Hamburg Commerce Park, which will have nearly 2.2 million square feet upon completion across multiple buildings off Route 61 in Perry Township.

The Keith Corp. bought the land from King’s Real Estate Group of Windsor Township and closed on the sale last week, said Robert Kiel, owner of Kiel Group LLC.

Jay King, president and CEO of King’s Real Estate, confirmed the transaction closed Friday and said he sold the park for $32 million.

Allied Building Corp. of Bethlehem is the general contractor for the industrial park and is constructing a speculative 600,238 square-foot-cross-dock distribution facility, the first building in the park. Workers also are installing all infrastructure for the park and the grading for a roughly 1 million-square-foot build-to-suit pad.

The fully approved industrial park offers all utilities, including natural gas, along with street lighting, landscaping and monument signage for each building.

The park at Route 61 and Zion Church Road has a main entrance at a new signalized interchange at Route 61 and Logistics Drive. Within the park, farther north on Logistics Drive, workers will create another access point closer to Interstate 78.

DECEMBER COMPLETION

The first speculative building under construction will feature a 36-foot ceiling height, concrete tilt-up wall panel construction, office space, light-emitting diode technology throughout and other amenities. Completion of construction of the first building is set for December.

The architect for the park is Merriman Schmitt Architects of Charlotte, N.C.

Kiel principally owns and manages Kiel Group LLC and is a Greater Lehigh Valley market veteran who previously led the local office of Liberty Property Trust for nearly 30 years.

“Having developed about 30 million square feet throughout the Valley and the growth of big warehousing companies that want to be in this market, the access was there, the labor is there,” he said.

30 COMPANIES ARE INTERESTED

Kiel said the site is generating interest from many users.

“It’s going to be most likely the household names that are looking to get into the market to serve the East Coast,” he said. “We currently have a list of 30 companies that are looking at the park.”

Once construction of the first building is complete, work likely will begin on the building that will occupy the 1 million-square-foot pad behind it, he added.

It could take three to five years to finish all construction at the park, which will have six buildings, he said.

“This wasn’t on the market,” King said. “We had many companies that wanted to buy it.”

RIGHT THING FOR HAMBURG

King said he chose this buyer because it wanted to do the right thing for the Hamburg area and matched the philosophy of King’s Real Estate.

Though King said he never intended to sell it, he saw the park would not be fully developed and completed for another 10 years if his company continued to own and develop it.

At that point, the completed project would cost an estimated $130 million to $150 million.

“We felt the risk reward was better to sell it early,” King said.

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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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