Touted as the Northface Business Park, the first 35 acres of a large brownfield site in Palmerton will be available for lease by next spring or early summer, according to George Petrole.
Petrole, the operating officer of Northface Development LLC of Palmerton, said he expects the Superfund cleanup site to see more industry than it has in more than 25 years.
“We have a logistics and warehousing center interested in the site, and we just received approval from PennDOT to create an access road from Route 248,” said Petrole, referencing the state Department of Transportation. “It is a prime site for light industrial tenants, logistics, manufacturing and medical offices.”
The 140-acre property, along Route 248 and Mauch Chunk Road in Palmerton, is going through a large remediation project that includes capping the site with fill materials such as construction debris. The process, approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection in 2010, involves removing any contaminated material, such as metal pathogens left from past use of the property.
The site was once home to the New Jersey Zinc Co., a zinc smelting facility that opened in 1898 and used for smelting until the zinc company closed in 1988.
“The site sat vacant and abandoned until 2010, when Northface Development purchased it from bankruptcy proceedings for less than $1 million,” Petrole said. “Actually, the property is owned by just one developer, and the sale was closed on New Year’s Eve 2009.”
The development company has invested more than $1 million in ongoing remediation, equipment expenditures and material costs, he added.
Rodger Danielson, borough manager for Palmerton, said the business park is the largest project in Palmerton in a long time.
“We at the borough feel there is such a huge capacity for growth and activity at the site,” Danielson said. “It is just an attractive site with water and sewer as well as gas and rail service.”
He said that, in its heyday, the former zinc company site was booming with activity, and Northfolk Southern still has rail service running on the property.l