Berks

Region's warehouse boom a budding boon for Berks economy

'It's coming our way and we just have to be ready'

Region's warehouse boom a boon for Berks

READING, Pa. - The rise of warehousing in the Lehigh Valley has been a big story for several years, and it's had a significant impact on the entire region.

As more and more companies need more and more space, the demand for warehouses is moving west.

"The Lehigh Valley certainly has become saturated with warehousing," said Pamela Shupp, the president of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership

With many warehouses to her east and to her west in Carlisle and York, that means only one thing. 

"Within the 2018 and 2019 timeframe, we will see over seven million square feet of space come online in Berks County," Shupp said. 

Some of that will be used for manufacturing, but the big numbers are in distribution, and in this case, the word "big" is appropriate. 

"It's kind of crazy when you think about how large these buildings have become," Shupp said.

For instance, take the LogistiCenter at Midway that is currently under construction in Bethel Township. The property goes on and on, for hundreds of yards, and when the warehouse is done, it's going to be more than one million square feet in size.

The owners are so confident about the demand for space, they don't even know who will be in there yet. 

"People see the opportunity here," explained Shupp. "Over 100 million people are within overnight delivery of the I-78 transportation corridor."

Those millions of people want things delivered fast.

"We want some immediate gratification when we order online, and being as close as possible to the customer allows these overnight deliveries to happen," she said. 

A price for that is more truck traffic, which is the root of recent warehouse protests in Longswamp Township and elsewhere.

Shupp said it's worth it for the broader tax base that comes with more jobs, and that the impact on rural areas will be minimal.

"The last thing we want, and the last thing that companies want, is to have to drive through rural roads in order to access the main transportation corridor," she said. 

In the end, according to Shupp, growth is inevitable. 

"It's coming our way and we just have to be ready for it."


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