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With perfect weather, a red ribbon and an oversized pair of scissors, Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation (WCIDC) today celebrated the completion of Phase II of development at Westmoreland Distribution Park North.
The project transformed 78.8 acres of raw land into three parcels:
“When we started this project around this time last year, I said the only thing better than groundbreakings are ribbon cuttings, and that is indeed the case” said WCIDC Chairman Sean Kertes. “It feels great to complete another project that will support the Westmoreland economy. We’ve really been on a roll lately, and these new lots will help us maintain that momentum.”
This project brings the number of available pad-ready sites at Westmoreland Distribution Park North to five. It is estimated that those five industrial lots can support up to 750,000 square feet of building space. That is in addition to the 260,000 square-foot facility that Philips Respironics built in the park in 2016.
The new lots are coming available at just the right time, said WCIDC Vice-Chairman Doug Chew.
“We needed to replenish our portfolio of available industrial properties,” Chew said. “Over the past few years, we’ve either sold or begun the sales process for several of our largest parcels, so it was imperative that we tackle Phase II at Distribution Park North. This will enable us to continue to attract business to the county as well as provide land for the growing companies that already call Westmoreland home.”
Westmoreland Distribution Park North is one of four WCIDC industrial parks clustered just four miles southeast of the county’s New Stanton transportation hub. With easy access to Route 119, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and a recently improved stretch of Interstate 70, the area is a key industrial hub that is home to 32 companies with approximately 2,000 employees. It also features a WCIDC rail freight transload facility.
WCIDC Secretary Ted Kopas noted the brisk pace of development in the park’s vicinity.
“This development around RIDC Westmoreland has been a real success story,” Kopas said. “Every parcel in Westmoreland Technology Park I has been sold, three new buildings have been added in Tech Park II, and Performance FoodService in Distribution Park East/West nearly doubled its size with an expansion last year. Thanks in part to this project, there’s room to do even more — we now have 11 industrial lots available in the area.”
Phase II’s $6.3 million cost was covered by the WCIDC’s own funds plus a $2,032,750 state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant and a low-interest $2.25 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
WCIDC Executive Director Jason Rigone expressed his appreciation for the ongoing support that the WCIDC has received from state officials such as Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward and Rep. Eric Davanzo — both of whom represent East Huntingdon Township — as well as Rep. George, Dunbar, the Republican caucus chair; the governor’s office; and state agencies. He also credits local officials in East Huntingdon Township and Southmoreland School District.
“This really is a team effort, and we appreciate their ongoing support,” Rigone said.
Rigone said that projects to create pad-ready sites make land more attractive to business leaders.
“Although the beautiful Laurel Mountains offer countless recreation opportunities that add to our quality of life, the extra cost to develop sites in our hilly topography puts us at a slight disadvantage when when competing with regions with flat terrain,” Rigone said. “With state support, we’ve cleared development obstacles from these properties and quite literally leveled the playing field when it comes to competing for economic-development projects. That’s why I’m glad to see that Gov. Josh Shapiro recently announced the PA SITES pilot program that provides grant funding to build shovel-ready sites.”
Founded in 1983 by the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners, the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation implements a comprehensive economic development strategy to promote growth in terms of job creation, economic output and a stable tax base for Westmoreland County. Through the development of a county-wide industrial park system, a responsive Business Calling Program and involvement in public/private partnerships, WCIDC strives to foster business growth, resulting in job opportunities for the citizens of Westmoreland County.
Jason Rigone, WCIDC, 724-830-3601, [email protected]
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