New construction planned in NEPA amid e-commerce boom | Business
PLAINS TWP. – Thanks to a boom in online shopping and e-commerce, approximately 70 million square feet of new construction is planned along the Interstate 81 corridor in Luzerne, Lackawanna and Schuylkill counties, the president and chief said. of Penn’s Northeast executive John Augustine.
He said there has been a strong demand for space from food and plastics manufacturers, warehouses and e-commerce companies as the Lehigh Valley has become saturated with warehouses and there is no there is almost no more space in this region.
“We’re seeing a rush of companies trying to buy land and put it into development for future projects,” Augustine said Friday at NEPIRC’s Friday maker day at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
He could not yet identify which specific industries and companies are slated for new developments, but he said “warehousing is going to be important” as well as manufacturers. Food manufacturers and agribusinesses have become the fastest growing markets, he said.
“As food becomes so important and so expensive, customer proximity is so important,” he said.
Augustine also sees a high demand for space from plastics manufacturers who make containers for food and other products. International companies are also looking into the region, he said. He said most new developments will be built on speculation and some companies will build to meet their needs.
“People want to move in quickly, but we have to wait eight months for steel, so the fastest we can get a building up will be eight, nine or 10 months,” he said. “What we see is companies buying a few hundred acres to build many buildings like an industrial park and some companies buying only 10, 20 or 30 acres and building just one.”
Augustine expects approximately 30 million square feet of new construction space to be in the Hazleton area, 10 million in the Wilkes-Barre and Pittston areas of Luzerne County, 20 million in the county of Lackawanna and 10 million in Schuylkill County.
“We expect to make a lot of announcements next year,” he said. “You’re going to see record announcements next year.”
Augustine said more businesses want to locate in northeast Pennsylvania because the land is “still affordable” and because of its infrastructure, Augustine said.
“How quickly you can get your products to market is very important,” he said. “You order something from Amazon yesterday, you want it today. If you order it today, you want it tomorrow. That doesn’t happen if the product is in California.
He said the COVID pandemic has accelerated e-commerce and the growth of online shopping for food and other goods and people want to receive their products within 24 hours.
The online shopping boom has led to a change in the way consumers shop for products and led to more businesses looking to northeast Pennsylvania for space, he said. .
“Last year we had more manufacturing leads than ever before,” he said. “We’ve added more industrial space and businesses during the COVID period than we’ve had in 10 years.”