Five infrastructure projects approved October 7 by a state authority will help stimulate the economy by preparing properties in four Pennsylvania counties for new businesses and reclaiming environmentally damaged land for reuse, Governor Edward G. Rendell said.
"Our investments in site development and infrastructure give our communities an inventory of business-ready sites that will create thousands of new jobs and put brownfields and environmentally scarred land back into productive use," said Governor Rendell.
The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved $18 million in loans and grants for the projects through the Business in Our Sites program. The state's investments will help communities conduct planning and predevelopment work required for strategically important real estate development projects.
The projects approved today are anticipated to create some 3,250 jobs in Luzerne County, 500 in Washington County, 25 in Mifflin County, and 60 in Jefferson County.
Snyder Township, Jefferson County, will receive $750,000 ($374,704 grant, $375,386 loan) to redevelop the former Brockway Clay Co. site. The 30-acre tract was used as an industrial manufacturing operation from the 1920s to the 1980s. The company's vacant buildings stood on the site through the 1990s until many burned down in 2002.
Snyder Township is working with developer North Central Enterprise Inc. to redevelop the Brockway site. Plans call for demolishing the remaining buildings, excavating and grading the land, assessing the environmental conditions of the property, and making infrastructure improvements to roads, streets and water and sewer systems.
The site will be subdivided and marketed to manufacturing and industrial companies that can also take advantage of the site's Keystone Opportunity Zone tax incentive status.
In Luzerne County, the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce will receive a $7.5 million package ($3.75 million grant, $3.75 million loan) to develop phase two of CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park in Pittston and Jenkins townships. Phase one is nearing completion and, to date, eight companies have located there and invested more than $113 million in private funds.
Phase two will address mine-scarred land with significant site preparation challenges. Mericle Commercial Real Estate will develop an additional 3 million square feet of space for commercial, industrial and distribution companies. Some 3,000 jobs are anticipated to be created through phase two, which is expected to cost $25.2 million. Nearly $9.2 million in private equity funds will be injected into the property, while the Business in Our Sites funds will be used for site preparation and excavation work, and to extend utility service.
Additionally, Earth Conservancy will receive more than $7 million ($1.1 million grant; $5.9 million loan) to assist in redeveloping Huber IV – a site that was once coal-mined in Hanover Township, near I-81. The site has been dormant since the mid-1970s.
Earth Conservancy plans to acquire and reclaim the site and build upon the success of Huber III, which was a previous Business in Our Sites project. The group will use the state's investment for land acquisition, grading, and incorporating erosion and sedimentation controls and storm water drainage. The project will benefit the environment by reclaiming mine-scarred land and reducing acid mine drainage.
The redevelopment work will create a "pad-ready" site to be marketed to industrial and commercial enterprises that could create as many as 250 new jobs. Of the project's $9.4 million cost, Earth Conservancy will invest nearly $2.4 million.
The Mifflin County Industrial Development Corp., or MCIDC, will receive $280,000 ($140,000 grant; $140,000 loan) to help redevelop the MCIDC Plaza-West in Granville Township. MCIDC took over ownership of the former rayon-manufacturing site in 1977. Today the plaza is home to 29 companies employing more than 300 people, but there is little space available for new or expanding companies.
MCIDC plans to demolish and renovate two more building clusters to create a new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building. The commonwealth's investment will be used for demolition, repair and renovations to a water pump, and to extend the parking areas.
The Washington County Council on Economic Development will receive a $2.5 million loan to help develop phase 1-B of the Starpointe Business Park in Hanover Township by supporting excavating and grading work, engineering costs, and improving the site's infrastructure, specifically building new roads and extending water, sewer and utility lines.
Phase 1-A, the first 148 acres of this 1,005-acre, strip-mined land, has been completed with four companies and more than $8 million in private funds invested to date. The next phase will provide new business-ready pads to be marketed to commercial and manufacturing businesses.
An additional 500 jobs are anticipated once the $12.1 million project is completed.
The Commonwealth Financing Authority administers eight of the commonwealth's economic stimulus programs. For more information, visit www.newpa.com.