The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority has approved more than $3.7 million in low-interest loans for seven projects that will generate more than $10.5 million in total investments, including three projects in Berks County.
Wednesday, the loans were announced by the Department of Community and Economic Development, including three that went to the Greater Berks Development Fund, totaling more than $800,000 – to help companies locate, expand and grow in the county.
The loans will fund three projects: the acquisition of a 44-acre farm in Upper Bern Township to be used for crop operation, construction of two broiler houses on a 154-acre farm in Heidelberg Township and construction of three 31,500-square-foot poultry houses on an 88-acre farm in Bethel Township.
The remaining four loans announced Wednesday went to projects in Cumberland County, Franklin County, Lancaster County and Perry County.
For more than 60 years, GBDF – an economic development organization – has been helping businesses grow by guiding them through site selection, relocation and financing.
GBDF has ready access to an up-to-date inventory of available commercial and industrial properties and works closely with the private and public sector real estate-related organizations serving Berks County.
“The loans approved over the last month show that the collaborative efforts of the public and private sectors can render progress and development,” said Dennis Davin, secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development.
BERKS COUNTY LOANS
GBDF was awarded three 15-year loans from PIDA.
The first loan is for $232,500 and is in the name of Bradley and Olyvia Swinsinski. The couple will use the funds to acquire a 44-acre farm in Upper Bern Township for a crop operation specializing in soybeans, corn and hay. The total project cost is projected to be $490,000.
The second loan is for $200,000 and is in the name of Troy and Lynette Gelsinger. The funds will be used to build two broiler houses on their 154-acre farm in Heidelberg Township. The Gelsingers have entered into a contract with Farmers Pride to produce poultry. The total project cost is projected to be $1.015 million.
The third loan is for $400,000 and is in the name of Adam and Lois Martin. The funds will be used to build three 31,500-square-foot poultry houses on the Martins’ 88-acre farm in Bethel Township. This will allow the Martins to convert their operation from egg laying to broiler production. Total project cost is projected to be $1.5 million.
At the end of last year, it was announced that GBDF could merge with the Greater Reading Economic Partnership. And last week at GREP’s annual meeting, it was disclosed that the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry could join the merger.
“We have been working hand in hand with them for years,” Scott said about the development fund in an earlier interview with Lehigh Valley Business. “This would be a natural evolution to create a stronger collaboration.”
Ed Swoyer, president of GBDF, was unavailable for comment this morning.
PIDA is an independent authority staffed and regulated through the state Department of Community & Economic Development. The authority provides capital for building acquisition, construction and renovation work, machinery and equipment loans.
It also provides working capital line-of-credit loans, primarily for manufacturers, industrial developers, research and development firms, agricultural processors and employers looking to establish national or regional headquarters in the state.
In addition to the loans announced Wednesday, this year PIDA approved $6.9 million in low-interest loans that resulted in $12.3 million in private investment and supported 237 created and retained jobs.
Industry sectors eligible for PIDA financing include manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, research and development, hospitality, defense conversion, recycling, construction, child day-care, retail and service, export and computer-related service enterprises