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Changes to Pennsylvania’s Flagship Economic Development Lending Program Could Benefit Lehigh Valley

By Colin McEvoy on May 18, 2018

LVEDC Vice President of Finance John Kingsley speaking at the LVEDC 2017 Annual Meeting.

LVEDC Vice President of Finance John Kingsley speaking at the LVEDC 2017 Annual Meeting.

Changes are coming to the state of Pennsylvania’s flagship economic development lending program, which could have a positive impact on healthcare companies in the Lehigh Valley.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) has expanded its eligibility to include for-profit health care operations for the first time, according to John Kingsley, Vice President of Finance for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).

This means through the PIDA program, LVEDC and the state will be able to help healthcare companies not only acquire or upgrade buildings where they operate, but also obtain machinery and equipment used for business operations.

“It creates a great opportunity for us to expand our portfolio of companies we support, and provides a terrific incentive to that industry in the Lehigh Valley,” Kingsley said.

The PIDA program offers low-interest loans and lines of credit to eligible businesses that commit to creating and retaining full-time jobs. It is one of several incentive financing resources available through LVEDC via the Lehigh Valley Lending Network.

In 2018 so far, PIDA has approved $24 million in low-interest loans across Pennsylvania that have resulted in $35.6 million in private investment and supported 1,478 created and retained full-time jobs, according to the state.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced about $12 million in new PIDA loan approvals in March for 15 business projects in 13 counties, helping create or retain nearly 500 jobs statewide. This includes two companies based in the Lehigh Valley.

“From supporting manufacturers to assisting our farmers, these projects will provide a boost to several sectors of our economy across the commonwealth,” Wolf said. “PIDA is an excellent program that enables crucial access to capital for businesses, and these projects approved today will create jobs, develop properties, and spur additional investment.”

Coretech International, Inc., a manufacturer of core cutting equipment and systems, received a $252,000 10-year loan at a 2 percent fixed rate that will allow the company to move from New Jersey to Allentown and create new jobs.

Additionally, Gooch Thermal Systems, Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of spiral heat exchangers for difficult heat transfer applications, was approved for a $1.1 million, 15-year loan at a 2 percent fixed rate for the acquisition of a Whitehall Township building.

“The efforts of LVEDC and John Kingsley were very helpful in smoothing out the PIDA process and minimizing the burden on us so we could focus on our day-to-day business,” said Hank Shamsi, President & CEO of Gooch Thermal Systems.

Located on three acres, the 28,217 square foot building will allow Gooch Thermal Systems to consolidate its operations – currently in New Jersey – to one industrial site, saving the company administrative costs and allowing for greater efficiencies and workflow.

Shamsi expects to close on the building this month, then make the move within the next year. The project provides the company 30 percent more space than they currently have, and is expected to retain 10 existing jobs and create 15 full-time jobs within the next three years.

“We’re excited about the prospect of consolidating the various operations we have and building the staff in Whitehall Township,” Shamsi said.

Coretech International, currently based in a 5,000 square foot facility in Alpha, N.J., will move into an existing 12,000 square foot facility in Allentown. The additional space will allow the company to grow and increase current production efficiencies.

Coretech International’s six employees will be moving to the new facility, and the project is expected to create an additional three jobs within three years, according to the state.

“We are grateful that Gooch Thermal Systems and Coretech International have chosen to locate and expand their operations in the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of LVEDC. “We are thankful for their investment in our community and for helping our manufacturing base continue to grow.”

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