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LEHIGH VALLEY IN SPOTLIGHT AT NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL REAL ESTATE CONFERENCE

By LVEDC Staff on June 5, 2014

Don Cunningham, president and CEO, LVEDC, addresses the I.CON 2014 Industrial Conference for Real Estate on June 5th in Jersey City, N.J.

Don Cunningham, president and CEO, LVEDC, addresses the I.CON 2014 Industrial Conference for Real Estate on June 5th in Jersey City, N.J.

Region named as one of two emerging markets in the nation

BETHLEHEM (Thursday, June 5)– The Lehigh Valley was recognized as one of just two regions to be designated as one of the nation’s emerging markets at the I.CON 2014 Industrial Conference for Real Estate held Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jersey City, N.J. The conference attracts industrial commercial real estate leaders from across North America who focus on current trends, data and strategies in industrial real estate development.

LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham was invited to serve as one of two panelists at a session entitled “Anticipation, Expectation and Performance of Emerging Markets.” He was joined by Russell Held, senior vice president of business development with the Virginia Port Authority.

“The Lehigh Valley is one of the fastest growing regions in the country because of its solid economic foundation and assets,” Cunningham said. “We anticipate this trend to continue because of our location, cost competitiveness, workforce, quality of life and available development sites.”

Cunningham told the audience of national industrial and commercial and real estate brokers and site selection consultants that the Lehigh Valley has been “emerging” rapidly during the last decade. The region has placed a premium on redeveloping its downtowns and industrial sites along with developing workforce talent to attract companies to the region and to retain and expand the existing business base.

“The Lehigh Valley has a $33 billion economy spread across many diversified industry sectors,” Cunningham noted. “We have more than 300,000 people employed at 15,300 companies and that makes us the 68th largest metropolitan area in the entire country.”

Cunningham noted to attendees that the region is the corporate headquarters of Air Products and Chemicals, PPL Corp., Crayola LLC, Olympus of the Americas, and B Braun, among others.

International brands such as Mack Trucks, Amazon.com, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Kraft Foods and Walmart also maintain a presence in the region.

“We’re fortunate to have a well-developed road, rail, air and water transportation infrastructure,” Cunningham noted. “This is an important selling feature for our region.”

In addition the Lehigh Valley has seen skyrocketing industrial market space growth.

“This is an amazing fact,” Cunningham said. “Total space grew from 35 million square feet in 1997 to 62 million square feet in 2013. Since 2012, 3 million of that has been delivered to the market, with about 3.8 million square feet now under construction.”

Cunningham also reported more than 27 million square feet of development is now proposed in the Lehigh Valley market.

Other facts reported during the presentation include:

–       The Lehigh Valley is home to 46 food and 11 beverage manufacturers that employ more than 3,500 workers and pay a total of more than $180 million in wages.

–       The region is home to two Class I railroads, and a Class I intermodal terminal to aid transportation of product to and from the Lehigh Valley.

–       The Lehigh Valley is the fastest-growing and third-most populous region in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The event was hosted by NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, which is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises 15,000 members in North America.

The Solid Foundations That Fuel Our Economy

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we get down to the final chapters of our consultant’s report, A Blueprint for Success: An Economic Development Strategy for Sustainable Growth in the Lehigh [...]

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