The LVEDC Interview: Kerry Wrobel
By LVEDC Staff on December 17, 2013
Editor’s Note: When it comes to economic development, the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park remains a benchmark of the ebb and flow of our region’s productivity. Since 2001 Kerry Wrobel has led the charge for the parks after a career at Binney and Smith where he served as the organization’s first government affairs manager and later sold Crayola projects to teachers across the United States. We find out what’s happening at the parks, the latest projects and what the future will bring in this LVEDC interview.
LVEDC: Can you give us an overview of the LVIP?
Kerry Wrobel: Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, Inc., a private non-profit economic development corporation, has developed seven industrial parks. LVIP I – III are located in LehighCounty and surround the Lehigh Valley InternationalAirport. LVIP IV – VII are located in NorthamptonCounty. LVIP’s seven parks are located on 2,500 acres of land and house 470 businesses and 22,000 employees.
LVEDC: Would you explain to our readers about your most recent project?
Wrobel: LVIP VII. LVIP VII is the redevelopment of 1,000 acres of the former Bethlehem Steel plant in south Bethlehem. We have already sold 350 acres of land to a diverse group of businesses, including Synchronoss Technologies, a software programmer for the cell phone industry; Cigars International, a cigar retailer; U.S. Cold Storage, a refrigerated warehouse; and Easton Engineered Wood Products, a distributor of product for the residential markets. New jobs created to date are approximately 2,400, with a private investment of $192,500,000. LVIP VII is a $100 million project, which includes the construction of a 108-acre Intermodal facility.
LVEDC: How about some of the other recently announced projects?
Wrobel: In LVIP VI, BethlehemTownship, new projects include a 49,000 SF office for Coordinated Health, a 66,000 SF Class A office building for the Human Services Department of Northampton County, a 43,000 SF office/warehouse for LuxuryLane, a distributer of outerwear and accessories. Plus Flexicon, a global manufacturer of conveyor systems, will be adding 75,000 SF to their current facility.
In LVIP VII, Curtiss-Wright’s Engineered Pump Division (EPD), a manufacturer of a wide range of highly engineered mission critical and general service pumps for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and related maritime customers, broke ground on a 179,000 SF manufacturing facility and will be bringing 95 jobs to the Lehigh Valley. Walmart also announced plans to locate its largest e-commerce distribution center in a 1.2 million SF warehouse constructed by Liberty Property Trust. A new tenant will be locating to LVIP’s LEED-certified Class A, 42,000 office building in early 2014. Construction has begun for FamilyWize Community Service Partnership who will be relocating their offices and 20 employees into approximately 7,800 SF of space in our building’s first floor. The company provides prescription drug discount cards and has a goal of reducing the cost of prescription medicine for children, families and individuals by $1 billion by the end of 2015.
LVEDC: It seems like an elementary question, but how does LVIP attract companies?
Wrobel: With a nearly 55-year history of industrial development, LVIP has a strong relationship with the business, broker and economic development communities. Most of our leads come from professionals familiar with our solid track record in creating quality business centers.
LVEDC: What is the future of industrial parks – urban or stand-alone locations?
Wrobel: I don’t think the options are mutually exclusive. I believe there is ample land zoned for industrial development and still available to support industrial parks. These business centers will continue to attract a diverse mix of manufacturing, industrial and logistics users. At the same time, office and technology firms may gravitate toward our regional centers to take advantage of the outstanding amenities offered in our urban cores.
2014 Will Bring Continued Economic Growth to Lehigh Valley
EDITOR'S NOTE: Don Cunningham wrote this look ahead for the Dec. 16, 2013 issue of Lehigh Valley Business. Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future. [...]Continue to Next Page