UPPER MOUNT BETHEL TWP., Pa. - Over 700 acres of land in Northampton County have sat vacant for years. Now an investment group is hoping to turn it into an economic goldmine for the Slate Belt region.
It doesn't look like much, but the area of wooded land was recently purchased from the adjacent power plant by River Pointe Logistics Center for $17 million.
In a statement they said they have eyed the land for some time, and now hope to turn it into an industrial development.
The parcel of land is located in Upper Mount Bethel Township, next to Interstate 80 on the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border.
"We want manufacturing or something that will help the people of Mt. Bethel, work in Mt. Bethel, and stay in Mt. Bethel for the rest of their lives so their kids can grow up and work in Mt. Bethel," said Anthony Defranco, Upper Mount Bethel Township supervisor.
Township officials are also anticipating new tax revenues.
"Theoretically we could take in as much tax base on the 700 acres as we do for the rest of the town," Defranco said.
The project is still a long ways off. River Pointe Logistics Center says no plans have been submitted yet, but water main and sewer issues will be the first hurdle the development company needs to overcome.
Don Cunningham, president of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, says it could take up to five years, but he believes it will be successful and an economic boost to the area once the plans are set in motion.
"We're seeing continued demand for companies that want to be in the Lehigh Valley to take advantage of our talent and workforce or manufacturing resources we need buildings and resources in order to attract them," Cunningham said.