Construction of the logistics park off exit 29 on Interstate 78 in Berks County suffered delays because of the record-breaking rains over the summer, Matt Clymer, senior vice president of MRP Industrial, based in West Chester, Chester County, told the audience at the recent Berks County Real Estate & Development Symposium.
The symposium, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Hotel, is a program of Lehigh Valley Business
The building measures 336,000 square feet and has a tenant committed to leasing half of the building and another who is expected to lease the remainder, Clymer said.
“We believed there was a lot of pent-up demand within Berks County for some of these smaller spaces, 100,000 square feet, 200,000 square feet,” he said.
The building is on a 34-acre parcel that features 234 auto stalls, 50 dock doors and 64 trailer stalls.
The second building under construction on the site, a 1.24 million-square-foot warehouse on 92 acres, is the largest speculative industrial building in Pennsylvania.
The building was designed for an e-commerce operation and features 551 auto stalls, 204 dock doors and 329 trailer stalls.
The building is expected to be ready in April, Clymer said.
The third building is a 324,000-square-foot warehouse on 28 acres that is being built to suit. It features 165 auto stalls, 42 dock doors and 63 trailer stalls.
When complete, the industrial park is expected to create at least 650 jobs, Clymer said.
Hamburg Logistics Park’s three buildings sit on more than 150 acres of the former Perry Golf Course in Shoemakersville. MRP Industrial bought the 150-acre golf course and an adjacent 12-acre farm in 2012 and started construction in late 2017.
One of the biggest challenges the developers faced was availability of public water. The closest access was about a mile down the road, but MRP worked with Perry Township Municipal Authority and Shoemakersville Borough to create an expanded zone for water service.
Clymer said they identified unused capacity in their water system to free up water and worked with the township engineers to create a booster station to increase water pressure.
Berks is becoming more attractive as a location to build large distribution warehouses as large swaths of land with infrastructure become scarcer and more expensive in neighboring Lehigh Valley, Clymer said.
The Lehigh Valley and Berks provides access to 50 percent of the U.S. population within a one-day truck drive.
“It’s a huge benefit,” he said. “Every e-commerce, every e-retailer wants to be here for store fulfillment and for proximity” to major markets.
“Berks really did present an opportunity for development that was unique,” Clymer said.
Labor and freight transportation costs are critical drivers in the industrial real estate market.
Not only did Route 61 and 222 provide access to the vital I-78 corridor, but Berks also offered a robust labor market, he said.