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Industrial parks worth $190M targeted for Berks

Such development signals the pending growth of industrial properties throughout the region. More specifically, it highlights the recent introduction of industrial properties in Berks, most prominently with Berks Park 78’s completion and quick occupancy – proving that a viable industrial market exists in the county.

The completion of Berks Park 78, a 323-acre industrial park along Interstate 78 and Route 501 in Bethel Township, opened the gates for fresh development of properties along that same I-78 corridor, including its connection to Route 61, farther east, in Hamburg.

Route 61 is a vital link southward to Reading and northward to Pottsville, and it’s now a pivotal spot for two developers looking to capitalize on the ever-burgeoning distribution and warehouse trend. Though the county has seen slower growth in the industrial sector as compared to neighboring Lehigh County, Berks enjoys steadily rising interest.

The projects about to be developed are Hamburg Commerce Park and Hamburg Logistics Park, both in Perry Township, south of Hamburg. Together, the two northern Berks County projects will bring nearly 5 million square feet of industrial development.

“Everything continues to move in the right direction,” said Pamela Shupp, president and CEO of Greater Reading Economic Partnership.

King’s Real Estate Group of Windsor Township is developing Hamburg Commerce Park, and Key Development Group of West Chester is developing Hamburg Logistics Park.

Hamburg Commerce Park will have buildings with smaller footprints, which could allow existing Berks companies to grow. Hamburg Logistics Park has bigger footprints and could attract large companies to the county.

Developers are still acquiring approvals, and officials said construction on Hamburg Logistics Park could begin this year.

“The sooner we can bring [them] to the market, the better,” Shupp said.

HAMBURG COMMERCE PARK

At Hamburg Commerce Park, King’s Real Estate Group wants to build more than 2 million square feet of industrial buildings on about 200 acres off Route 61, a $120 million investment.

The site is diagonal from Hamburg Logistics Park, and both parcels are about two miles south of the Hamburg interchange of I-78.

King’s seeks a highway occupancy permit and wants to break ground in spring, which would include five industrial buildings.

Jay King Jr., president and CEO of King’s Real Estate Group, said a company has selected Hamburg Commerce Park for its corporate office. With no signed leases, officials at King’s declined to name any prospective tenants.

LIGHT MANUFACTURING

The site could have light manufacturing uses and will bring higher-paying jobs to the community, said Nadine King, office manager and wife of Jay King.

With warehouse and distribution companies largely likely occupying the industrial park, jobs could pay in the $15 to $20 per hour range, she said.

A drawing of a completed Hamburg Commerce Park shows the buildings are 10,000 to 20,000 square feet.

King’s owns a little more than 200 acres, Jay King said. The entire site is zoned light industrial.

Schlouch Inc. of Blandon is the engineer and could be selected for site work once construction commences, according to the Kings.

COMMITTED TO THE COMMUNITY

The company owns and manages several retail establishments throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley. The explosion of e-commerce and overall rapid growth in warehousing and distribution led the company to developing an industrial park.

“The internet has changed the world,” Jay King said.

Millions are ordering products online, and they want products delivered to their homes and offices faster than ever, hence the desire for industrial properties to support the demand.

“We’re committed to the community; we know companies can be competitive,” said Dave King, vice president of operations, and son of Jay King. “Our land costs are a lot lower here than they would be in the Lehigh Valley. Our goal is to keep it [the property] long-term so we can control it.”

The Berks Park 78 project, just a little more than 20 miles away, gives legitimacy to this project, Dave King said, noting that the land has all infrastructure in place to make it work.

HAMBURG LOGISTICS PARK

James Clymer of Key Development Group, Hamburg Logistics Park developer, said he plans to construct three buildings totaling more than 2.1 million square feet and bringing about 650 jobs.

The real estate firm is looking to build the $70 million industrial park on 165 acres at Perry Golf Course. The golf course is open but will close once construction begins, he said.

Clymer said he hopes to break ground this year. He has an approved plan for three warehouses, but no tenants to announce.

Companies most likely to locate there would be those in the consumer products industry, he said.

The largest building would be 1.354 million square feet with the other two at 380,000 square feet apiece.

The site is well-located, offering four-lane access to a major intersection at Route 61 and Interstate 78, and it’s zoned for industrial use.

The plan is for light industrial and distribution users, while the land also has all infrastructure in place.

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