New Industrial Park to Be Built in Bethel Twp., Pa.

Apr. 19--An international developer of distribution centers plans to turn a Bethel Township property into a 4-million-square-foot business park that will bring up to 2,500 jobs, money to attract more new businesses and more tax revenue.

ProLogis , based near Denver, Colo., will pay the Berks County Industrial Development Authority $19.38 million for the 323-acre property off Interstate 78 between Routes 501 and 645, county officials announced Tuesday.

The money will repay the $6.9 million the authority has spent on the site, cover additional site improvements and buy land at Reading Regional Airport that the authority intends to use as an industrial park to attract businesses, authority Chairman David W. Patti said.

The assessed value of the developed site is expected to total $200 million, raising tax revenue for the township, Tulpehocken School District and the county.

Michael Nachamkin, ProLogis senior vice president and northeast regional director, said the site would be a typical ProLogis park with multiple buildings catering to the top distribution companies in the world.

He said there are no deals for tenants now, but company literature names Coors, Adidas, Kraft Foods and Whirlpool among its clients.

Nachamkin said the size of the site and accessibility to the Lehigh Valley, the Harrisburg area and other states were keys in its selection.

"A lot of companies that will locate there will be regional or East Coast distribution companies," he said.

ProLogis owns a 219,000-square-foot facility on airport property at 1157 Arnold Road, Bern Township.

Nachamkin said construction in Bethel probably would not begin for about a year, so the first building may not be ready for tenants until the latter part of 2008.

State Sen. David J. "Chip" Brightbill, a Lebanon County Republican who represents parts of Berks, said the state would provide $7 million in loans and grants for sewers to serve the park and Bethel residents.

[Reading Eagle (PA) (KRT) -- 04/20/06]