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$60M airport development would spark Perkasie economy

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COURTESY OF LANGAN ENGINEERING
Artist’s conception of Pennridge Airport after construction is complete. Three hangars already exist. The two proposed to be built are at top left and bottom right.
COURTESY OF LANGAN ENGINEERING Artist’s conception of Pennridge Airport after construction is complete. Three hangars already exist. The two proposed to be built are at top left and bottom right.

Courting high tech and big pharmaceutical companies, a Bucks County company wants to create a six-building, $60 million development on 260 acres at Pennridge Airport.

Roughly 40 acres are in Perkasie, where Robert Brink plans to construct two 100,000-square-foot buildings, possibly for office/manufacturing and research and development, at 1100 Ridge Road. Brink is president of family owned and operated Pennridge Development Enterprises Inc., at Pennridge Airport in Perkasie.

The remaining 220 acres of the site are in East Rockhill Township. So far, no construction has been pitched to East Rockhill, though the site plan calls for another four buildings in coming years.

“I’d estimate a roughly $60 million project once we have full build-out,” Brink said, over about eight years.

Brink has land development approval and industrial zoning from Perkasie for the project, which includes the two big buildings, a small hotel and restaurant or brewpub.

Site preparation is underway for the first building, Building 1.

“I am moving ahead with the first building on spec,” Brink said.

TAX INCENTIVE

Brink is awaiting approval for a tax abatement incentive program through the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act. Perkasie Borough Council granted Brink’s LERTA request April 2.

LERTA is a tax relief incentive program that reduces property taxes to improvements on a commercial project over 10 years.

Brink must now gain approval from Pennridge School District and also Bucks County. All three taxing bodies must agree to sign on for the LERTA or it fails.

LIFT TO THE ECONOMY

Jim Ryder, borough council president, said the airport development would “bring new businesses to town, as well as having two buildings with all the employees that would entail” for boosting the local economy.

Ryder said increasing Perkasie’s business base with the project was important because the borough is small and “fairly built out.”

“The airport project is key,” he said.

SEEKING ONE TENANT PER BUILDING

Brink said the property’s airport could handle corporate jets up to about 10 passengers, and that its roughly 4,200-foot paved runway was among the largest in the region.

“Ideally, we’d have one tenant with research and development, some manufacturing and executive staff located in the building,” Brink said.

He acknowledged each 100,000-square-foot building could house up to three tenants.

NOT FOR WAREHOUSES

The project is not positioned for warehouse or distribution, Brink said.

“We can’t bring commercial freight carriers in; it’s not going to be a hub for shipping,” said Stephen M. Barth, economic development consultant for Perkasie.

Brink said because the location doesn’t have freight or highway infrastructure, it isn’t suitable for warehouse space.

“We can’t compete with what is in the Lehigh Valley,” he said.

AIRPLANE PARKING

The plan calls for additional airplane hangars, which would add to the airport’s complement of about 50, increasing garage space to accommodate nearly 60 planes.

The airport has additional space to tie down about 20 planes.

Brink said his goal is to couple the airport with the new buildings to facilitate executive access for tenants and their customers.

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