www.marej.com M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Industrial / Distribution Centers — May 29 - June 11, 2020 — 17A I ndustrial R eal E state & D istribution C enters By Pamela Shupp Menet, AICP, CEcD, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance What makes us resilient? Berks County has strong and diverse industry base B erks County, PA is proving to be resil- ient. Despite the im-

have accounted for 43 percent of loan activity through the Pennsylvania Industrial De- velopment Authority (PIDA) loan program administered by the Greater Reading Cham- ber Alliance (GRCA). Since 2017 there have been 21 agri- business financing projects in Berks County totaling $22.5 million and supported by $8.1 million in PIDA loan funds, During the past two years, those loans have been going to expand existing farms. Manufacturing Manufacturing jobs remain in demand during the pan-

demic as some businesses con- vert production lines to make personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks and gowns, and hand sanitizer. Business expansions, new facility construction projects, along with businesses relo- cations were all up before Covid-19. And the attraction and expansion inquiries have not stopped. Businesses who are growing want to be ready for the post Covid-19 economy. When Berks County wel- comed a plastic to plastic manufacturer to the com- munity, it did not expect

a pandemic to hit in mid- construction. But Its newly constructed 280,000 SF facil- ity is well underway and an- ticipates a summer opening. The expedited review process, a committed development and construction team, and a committed Berks County community are assuring their satisfaction and success. That is what Berks County is com- mitted to and that is why we will remain #resilient. Pamela Shupp Menet, AICP, CEcD is VP of Exter- nal Affairs Greater Read- ing Chamber Alliance. 

Agriculture Agriculture continues to be a solid Berks economic driver. Agribusiness includes crops, poultry farms and related businesses that support grow- ing and farming operations. Many farming operations continued to be family-owned and operated. Successful tran- sitions to the next generation are adopting newer technolo- gies which require large capi- tal investments. Berks County has support- ed agribusinesses with Com- monwealth of PA loan funds. In fact, Agribusiness loans

m e d i a t e challenges caused by COVID-19, e c o n o m i c g r o w t h i n B e r k s County con- tinues at a stable pace. One of the reasons is

Pamela Shupp Menet

Berks County’s significant diversity in its industry profile, Logistics Trucking, logistics, distribu- tion, manufacturing, health care and agribusiness are long- standing contributors to Berks County’s strong economic land- scape – even during the Co- vid-19 pandemic crisis. Logistics and distribution with access to Interstates 78, 422 (east/west) 222 and 61 (north/south and central) along with the Pennsylvania Turn- pike provide nationwide brands like Pet Smart, Dollar General, Ashley Furniture, and Sam- sung to serve consumers from Berks County hubs. These transportation cor- ridors have huge impacts on Berks County and the entire region’s economy. As a sub- market of the Lehigh Valley In- dustrial market, Berks County can sometimes be overlooked as a key driver in the logistics sector. But its location, avail- able sites, and development costs combined with access to labor place it high on the site search lists. Available facility sizes have increased, but flex - ible footprints are a keystone of the Berks logistics market. And the employment base was strong heading into 2020. Health Care The Tower Health/Drexel Medical School campus build- ing broke ground in summer 2019 on the site of the former Vanity Fair Outlet complex. The redevelopment project has a project cost of $70 million and will attract professional talent and newcomers to live and work in and around the urban core (Wyomissing/West Reading/ Reading) in Berks County. This investment will solidify Berks County’s position as a health care leader in eastern PA. It is also anticipated that the school will drive and support addition- al service and related businesses to these communities.

To learn about available sites and buildings, contact Pamela Shupp Menet. PSHUPP@GREATERREADING.ORG | 610.898.7787 | GREATERREADINGSITES.COM 606 COURT ST., READING, PA 19601

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