New Tool for Marketing Slate Belt Properties Proves Successful
By Colin McEvoy on November 25, 2014
The Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce already knew there were plenty of commercial and industrial properties available with tremendous potential for new and expanding businesses. It was just a matter of getting the word out to a wider audience.
To that end, the Slate Belt Chamber partnered with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. (LVEDC) and Merchants Bank of Bangor to publish “Slate Belt 2014 Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Inventory,” a 60-page book highlighting 57 properties in Bangor, Pen Argyl, Mt. Bethel, Stockertown and other Slate Belt municipalities. The book was published in May and has already had an immediate positive effect: two properties have already sold, and interest has increased drastically in others.
“Just by putting this book out there and getting it out to the commercial market, suddenly I’m getting calls,” said Laura McLain, the Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce’s executive director. “Having them all in one place that’s well organized, easy to access and look through, it’s made a big difference. It’s a great tool.”
The book features a wide range of structures, varying in price range from as low as $1,000 to as high as $1.8 million, and varying in size from as little as 1,200 square feet to as large as over 100,000 square feet. An eclectic mix of building types are featured, such as former churches, auto repairs stores, lumber yards, garment manufacturing buildings and a historic train station in Portland.
The properties already sold since the book’s release include 201 Roseto Ave., a two-story brick industrial building off Route 191 in Roseto, and 455 American Bangor Road in Washington Township, the 24,000 square-foot former home of the Bangor Bowling Center. The latter will become a warehouse for Big Health LLC, an online seller of vitamins, supplements and other nutritional products. Company CEO Benjamin Faturos said before settling on that site, he was surprised at how difficult it was to simply search for a commercial property online.
“We’re a bit of a larger company and we can afford to hire a realtor to take the time to do that, but I know a lot of companies that might want to do that on their own, and it’s not as easy as looking at photos and information online as if you were purchasing a house,” Faturos said. “It’s difficult not having a good, specific tool that can help you do that, and this book seems to serve that function.”
The 20,000 square-foot Roseto Ave. building will become the home of Hope Uniform and Security Products, a manufacturer of high-quality police, fire and security uniforms, which supplies distributors in Allentown, Bethlehem, Scranton, Philadelphia and other cities throughout the state. Formerly based in Columbia, N.J., the company employs about 16 people, and the move will allow them to retain current employees while hiring others from the Lehigh Valley.
Faith Sarisky, the Bangor-based realtor who handled the purchase of that building, said she believes the Slate Belt commercial and industrial property market is on the edge of an upswing, thanks in part to efforts to market the existing properties, the Lehigh Valley’s close proximity to New York and Philadelphia, and the availability of blue collar workers in the region.
“If we have more commercial and industrial employment for the people around here, it’s going to build the restaurants and local businesses in the downtowns as well, which are struggling right now,” Sarisky said. “People are going out of the area to shop, but if they’re working in places like Pen Argyl, Bangor, Wind Gap and Portland, then they’re going to be having lunch and shopping there too, so it’s going to help everybody.”
The book features 11 sites in Pen Argyl, 10 in Bangor, nine in Plainfield Township and 8 in Wind Gap, and includes such property information as zoning, available parking, ceiling height and utilities. Some notable examples of properties include 2.8 acres at the Routes 33 and 512 interchange in Plainfield Township; a renovated East Bangor restaurant with a classic car showroom and ice cream parlor; space at the Blue Valley Drive center in Bangor anchored by Rite Aid, Dollar General and Ace Hardware; and one of the original buildings in the Portland’s historical downtown.
Click here to download an online version of the book, or contact McLain at 610-588-1000 for more information.
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