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This Slate Belt industrial park has a new leasing agent and plans to bring thousands of jobs to the Lehigh Valley

A 725-acre industrial park in rural Upper Mount Bethel Township has a new leasing agent with future plans to bring thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue to the area.

CBRE made the announcement Wednesday of becoming the exclusive leasing agent for River Pointe Commerce Park. The California-based real estate services and investment firm has tapped Jake Terkanian, senior vice president, and Sean Bleiler, senior vice president, to oversee the project.

The property is bounded by River Road, Route 611, Potomac Street and Pine Tree Lane and sits in the township’s industrial zoning districts. It is owned by River Pointe Logistics with plans for 13 buildings totaling 5.5 million square feet.

Real estate consultant Paul Scheuren during a February meeting before the township’s Board of Supervisors and Economic Development Commission said the tax revenues from the industrial park, once fully built out, could generate $1.1 million to $2.2 million annually. That would be a 30-60% increase from current tax revenues, Scheuren then said.

The project’s development team includes Bethlehem developer Lou Pektor and associates. The group purchased the 725 acres for $17,050,000 in September 2019, according to Northampton County property records.

The first building, 303 Demi Road, offers an expansion up to 420,000 square feet. That building is expected to deliver by late 2021, said Bailey Hall, a senior communications specialist. Once that building is completed, deliveries in the master planned park will follow starting in 2022.

Hall noted the development team is in a unique position, which allows the layout of the buildings to change with the ability to suit a vast amount of industrial uses. The developer is open to providing everything from build-to-suite lease or sale options to entitled pad site sales, he said.

Tenants are yet to be identified, however, Terkanian said there’s been strong interest from food and beverage companies to manufacturers. All are attracted to the property’s attributes, including the potential to have 100-foot clearance heights, he said.

“We are thrilled to bring the largest planned industrial park along the Eastern Seaboard to market,” Terkanian added.

The property is located 1.5 miles from Exit 4 of Interstate 80, just under 65 miles from the Port of New York and New Jersey, and 80 miles from the Port of Philadelphia. The project comes with a 10-year Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) tax abatement.

“It’s poised to attract a strong labor force and prominent tenants as each building is flexible for multiple uses, including manufacturing,” Pektor said. “RPL is excited to attract new companies to an area that has a strong employment base of hard working people in the Northampton County area.”

River Point also is being compared to the Humboldt Industrial Park in Hazleton, according to a report in the Morning Call newspaper.

That park opened in 1970 along a five-mile stretch of Route 924. Humboldt Industrial features 2,600 developed acres with 13 million square feet of manufacturing, e-commerce and distribution jobs, plus retail, commercial and corporate offices.