Press Releases

News From Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2017

For More Information Contact:
Jim Cummings
Vice President Marketing
Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services
570.823.1100
jcummings@mericle.com

Steel Rising on 520,000 Square Foot Mericle Industrial Building

Pittston Township, PA – Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services has begun constructing a 520,000 square foot industrial building on speculation in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania.

Steel erection is underway on the 104 acre site at 460 Research Drive in the Phase IIB section of the park. The 520’ x 1000’ building can be expanded to 780,000 square feet and will be ready for tenants by mid-2017.

CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park is less than one mile from I-81 and I-476.

Key building features will include 37’1” to 42’6” ceiling clear heights, 69 cross-docked loading doors, a 7” thick concrete floor, energy-efficient lighting and heating, 4000 amps of power, an ESFR fire protection system, and room on site to park more than 200 trailers. The building is located in a LERTA tax abatement zone. Real estate taxes on improvements will be 100% abated for 10 years.

The building is being constructed on a Mericle ReadyToGo!™ Site, one of dozens Mericle has completed in Northeastern Pennsylvania. For its ReadyToGo! Sites, Mericle clears, grades, and compacts the sites, installs all utilities, and secures all necessary permits well in advance of building construction.

The building will be the 4th largest in CenterPoint. Only buildings occupied by Lowe’s, Kimberly Clark and Corning are larger. There are 43 tenants in CenterPoint who together employ approximately 5,200 people. The new building is the 31st to be constructed in the park in the past 10 years.

CenterPoint is located less than 10 minutes from Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, which makes it easy for companies to attract and retain labor. Other well-known industrial tenants in the park include The Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, Men’s Wearhouse, and Cintas.

For more information about the new building, please visit www.mericlereadytogo.com/460-480ResearchDrive/.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2016

For More Information Contact:
Jim Cummings
Vice President Marketing
Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services
570.823.1100
jcummings@mericle.com

Mericle Acquires Former Walmart Building in Pittston Township

former-walmart-building-pittston-twpMericle Commercial Real Estate Services has purchased the vacant former Walmart store at 1201 Oak Street in Pittston Township. The acquisition was announced by company president Robert Mericle who said the company’s in-house design and business development teams have prepared plans to convert the building into a multi-tenant office and medical complex.

The approximately 125,000 square foot single-story building sits on 23.86 acres near the entrance to Mericle’s CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park West. Walmart vacated the building when it constructed its nearby retail center along Route 315 in Pittston Township.

Mericle said preliminary plans call for breaking the building into as many as seven spaces ranging in size from 14,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet. He said the building will be gutted and new windows and a center courtyard will be added to flood the space with natural light. A new façade will also be constructed. Mericle said the property has room for almost 1,000 parking spaces.

“The site offers most of the same advantages of CenterPoint” added Mericle. “These include immediate access to Interstates 81 and 476, a large nearby workforce, quick access to Pittston, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton, and close proximity to hundreds of amenities.”

Mericle said he expects the property to appeal to financial services, customer service, help desk, and healthcare companies. He said its central location will be attractive to firms seeking a single location to serve the entire Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2016

For More Information Contact:
Jim Cummings
Vice President Marketing
Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services
570.823.1100
jcummings@mericle.com

Lesjöfors to Open U.S. Manufacturing Headquarters in CenterPoint East

220-300-research-drLesjöfors Springs America, Inc., an industry leader in the design and manufacture of custom-engineered flat mechanical power springs and spring assemblies, will open its U.S. manufacturing headquarters in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East, Jenkins Township.

The company has leased 61,656 square feet of space in the industrial building at 250 Research Drive recently constructed on speculation by Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services.

Lesjöfors Springs America’s capabilities include a wide variety of spring manufacturing. The springs are used in industrial hose reels, fall safety equipment, outdoor power equipment, elevator door closures, and many other specialized applications.

The company is part of Lesjöfors AB, a Sweden-based international manufacturer of industrial springs, wire and flat strip components. Lesjöfors AB is a subsidiary of Beijer Alma AB and operates from 21 manufacturing units in 10 countries.

Lesjöfors Springs America, Inc. will relocate its current manufacturing operation and all of its employees from the Ivy Industrial Park near Waverly, PA to the new CenterPoint location.

CEO, Brandy Davies said, “We needed more space and it was important for us to stay in the area and retain our skilled workforce. We chose CenterPoint because of its central location and close proximity to all of the major interstate highways in the area. We have doubled our square footage, allowing us the opportunity to optimize and expand our power spring operation. The space will also house the first distribution warehouse for the Lesjofors Automotive business in the US, servicing the North American market.”

The real estate transaction was coordinated by Mericle Vice President Bob Besecker. He said the project gives Lesjöfors Springs America the room they need to grow in the region.

“Our CenterPoint building gives Lesjöfors about twice the space they had in Ivy Industrial Park,” Besecker said. “Being able to retain these manufacturing jobs with the potential to add more is definitely a win for the region.”

Besecker said his firm recently constructed the building, 279,000 square feet in total, on a Mericle ReadyToGo!™Site. QuietFlex Manufacturing also recently moved into the building.

“We are seeing an uptick in requests for space from manufacturers,” Besecker said. He listed Lesjöfors, QuietFlex, Greiner Packaging and Itoh Denki as manufacturing firms that have recently occupied Mericle space in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Michelle Mikitish congratulated Lesjöfors Springs America on the expansion and praised the company for keeping its U.S. manufacturing headquarters in Northeastern Pennsylvania. “We know the competition between states and communities for manufacturing jobs is intense,” she said. “We should take pride in the fact that after examining all of its options, Lesjöfors decided to grow its business in our area.”

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Kelly Services®, a global leader in providing workforce solutions, has opened a new regional office in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East in Jenkins Township. The company has leased 4,120 square feet of space from Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services at 124 CenterPoint Boulevard.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the facility on July 28 in cooperation with the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce.

The firm offers a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services including recruitment, human resource management, vendor management, and outplacement services on a global basis.

Additionally, Kelly Services provides world-class staffing on a temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent placement basis. Kelly employees can be found working in traditional office positions as well as in finance, healthcare, engineering, law, education, accounting, information technology, science, creative services, and light industrial.

Michelle Nichols, the company’s senior district manager for the northeast region said, “Our new office located in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park sits near the border of Lackawanna and Luzerne counties allowing us the opportunity to serve our customers and employees from a more strategic location. We have experienced tremendous growth in our professional services area and provide comprehensive staffing solutions to our partner school districts across multiple counties. Our team has grown from three staff members to more than 10 employees, and business development remains steady.”

A key component of Kelly’s operations in the new CenterPoint office is Kelly Educational Staffing® (KES®), a specialty service which identifies, screens and places substitute teachers in local school districts.

Each school year, KES® fills more than two million classrooms nationally with qualified substitute teachers and paraprofessionals who provide a continued learning environment for students when permanent teachers must be away from the classroom. As the largest provider of substitute staff in the United States, KES has more than 40,800 active substitute educators in its talent pool and works with more than 6,175 schools.

Michelle Mikitish, executive vice president of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, said Kelly Services sets a high bar for other companies in the staffing industry. “Kelly Services is synonymous with workforce solutions,” she said. “CenterPoint’s central location will no doubt make it easier for Kelly Services to provide its wide array of services to area school districts and private employers.”

The real estate transaction was coordinated by Mericle Vice Presidents Jim Hilsher and Al Guari and Daum Commercial Real Estate Services Executive Vice President Danielle Knudson of Newport Beach, California.

Hilsher said Kelly Services has become the 40th tenant in CenterPoint.

Kelly Services® was established in 1946 by William Russell Kelly, founder of the temporary staffing industry. Since then, the company has evolved from the widely-recognized “Kelly Girl” brand to become a leader in workforce solutions.

Today, Kelly® has a role in managing employment opportunities for more than 1 million workers around the globe by employing 550,000 of these individuals directly with the remaining workers engaged through its talent supply chain network of supplier partners.

For more information, including the broad range of available employment opportunities, visit kellyservices.com.

Quietflex-Expands-into-Larger-Manufacturing-Space-in-CenterPoint-EastQuietflex, a manufacturer of flexible duct for the HVAC industry and fiberglass blanket applications for the automotive, natural gas and construction industries, has expanded its manufacturing operation within CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 13 at the company’s new location at 220 Research Drive in Jenkins Township, Luzerne County.

Since 2008, the company had been located in 80,880 square feet in a Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services-developed and owned building at 285 CenterPoint Boulevard in CenterPoint East. Quietflex has expanded into 108,671 square feet in the 279,000 square foot industrial building on Research Drive recently constructed on speculation by Mericle.

Headquartered in Houston, Quietflex was founded in 1976 to meet the market demand for high-quality, affordable, flexible duct. The company is a subsidiary of Daikin North America LLC, the largest HVAC and refrigerant manufacturer in the world.

In 1997, Quietflex pioneered the use and manufacturing of various fiberglass products, creating greater efficiency levels for end-users. The fiberglass material used in QuietFlex’s innovative products can also be found in the automotive industry, underground tank insulation, various HVAC applications, etc. The company sells flex duct products to customers throughout the United States. Customers range in size from multi-billion dollar corporations to smaller, entrepreneurial sole proprietors.

In addition to its Houston headquarters, where it operates a 400,000 square foot manufacturing plant, Quietflex also has facilities in Phoenix, Arizona and Groveland, Florida.

Mericle President Robert Mericle said one of the reasons his company began constructing the building on Research Drive was to keep pace with an increase in inquiries from local and out-of-area manufacturing companies seeking space.

“There’s been a noticeable increase in calls from manufacturers,” Mericle said. “We want to make sure we have the type of space they need so we decided to construct the Research Drive facility on speculation. We are thrilled that Quietflex has decided to be an anchor in our new building. They’ve been a great tenant.”

Mericle recently constructed a new manufacturing and headquarters facility for long-time tenant Itoh Denki in Hanover Crossings. In 2014, Austrian packaging company Greiner Packaging International opened its first U.S. manufacturing plant in a Mericle industrial building in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park West, Pittston Township.

Mericle Vice President Jim Hilsher coordinated the Quietflex lease transaction with Mike Zerbe of Colliers International of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania and Andy Iverson and Ross James of Jackson Cooksey, Houston, Texas.

Hilsher said it is not uncommon for Mericle to relocate companies within its own portfolio. “Because we are always constructing new buildings on speculation, we are ready to accommodate tenants that need more space,” he said. We know our tenants’ needs, which makes it easy for us to quickly move them from one Mericle building to another.”

 

SkyZoneLogoAfter hosting hundreds of thousands of customers since its opening in a multi-tenant flex building in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East in 2014, Sky Zone Scranton has made the decision to construct its own building one mile away in CenterPoint West.

Construction has begun on Sky Zone’s 24,000 square foot facility on Enterprise Way in Pittston Township. The new building is expected to have its grand opening on October 1.

Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. Sky Zone Scranton at 525 Keystone Avenue in CenterPoint East offers open jump, a SkySlam court, SkyRobics fitness classes, Ultimate Dodgeball and the Foam Zone.

“We are grateful for the terrific response we have had from the community since we opened in September 2014 as we continue to be NEPA’s premiere destination for awesome, healthy fun,” said Sky Zone Scranton General Manager Jeff Bowne. “The growth we have experienced has exceeded our expectations and we are excited to move into a stand-alone building that is larger than the space we currently occupy. The location will provide great visibility, abundant parking and ease of access from the bypass, Route 315 and Interstate 81.”

Bowne said the new building will allow Sky Zone Scranton to continue to provide its core offerings with two dodgeball courts, a Foam Zone, a SkySlam Court, and a large main trampoline area, but added that several new features are in the offing. “The new facility will provide ample space for us to provide exciting new jumping innovations and amenities that guests of all ages will enjoy,” Bowne said. “While we don’t want to let out too many surprises, we will be outfitting the new building with an ultra violet lighting system to allow for glow jumping”.

Bowne said some new jobs will be created because of the project. “We are proud to employ approximately 70 folks from the area and we will be holding a job fair closer to our opening as we will be increasing our workforce so we can continue to provide a fantastic guest experience,” he said.

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services developed and owns the flex building at 525 Keystone Avenue and is constructing Sky Zone’s new building in CenterPoint West. Mericle President Rob Mericle congratulated Sky Zone on its decision to stay within CenterPoint.

“Sky Zone has enjoyed tremendous success in CenterPoint and has become one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s preeminent family entertainment venues,” Mericle said. “We’re thrilled that Sky Zone has determined that CenterPoint is the best place to grow its business.”

SkyZoneRendering_EnterpriseMericle added that the visibility of the site chosen by Sky Zone should boost the company’s marketing efforts. “The site for Sky Zone’s building hugs Interstate 81,” he said. “Tens of thousands of vehicles pass the site every day. The new building will really stand out.”

“This is great news,” said Michelle Mikitish, executive vice president of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce. “Sky Zone has been a wonderful addition to the region’s quality of life and we are very happy that the company has chosen to expand in Pittston Township.”

Mikitish added that Greater Pittston, specifically CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park, has become a preferred I-81 corridor location for a diverse array of companies. “From manufacturers, to distribution centers, to healthcare providers, to entertainment venues, more and more businesses have determined that CenterPoint is the place to be,” she said.

Sky Zone was named “America's Most Promising Companies List” in Forbes for 2015, 2014, 2013, #2 on Franchise Times’s list of "Smartest-growing Brands" for 2015, and #15 of 100 in LA Business Journal’s “Fastest-growing Private Companies” for 2014.

Sky Zone is the creation of entrepreneur Rick Platt, who originally intended for the trampoline courts to be used as part of a new sport with professional athletes. In 2004, Platt spent $2 million to build a 17,000-square-foot trampoline arena in Las Vegas (then known as SkyMania Fun Center) and to hire athletes for the sport, which would have included rotating hoops and mid-air acrobatics.

Sky Zone, as a sport, failed. However, local skateboarders soon showed an interest in playing in the arena. Rick charged $8 per person and Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park— the world’s first all-trampoline, walled, playing courts, designed by top engineers, welders, and carpenters— was born.

 

Mericle_1065 Hanover St 6015 SFWNS (Holdings) Limited (NYSE: WNS), an international firm with global headquarters in Mumbai, India and with US headquarters in Jersey City, NJ, has announced plans to create approximately 300 inbound, customer service and sales positions over the next five years at its local offices in Hanover Township, Luzerne County.

The company leases flex-office space from Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services at 1065 Hanover Street in Hanover Industrial Estates where it employs 72 people.

WNS is a global Business Process Management (BPM) leader and the positions will serve the travel industry on behalf of several large clients.

Mericle Vice President Bob Besecker has been assisting WNS with its space needs.

“This is great news for area residents seeking employment in an office setting,” said Besecker. “We are happy to be able to be able to provide the type of space WNS needs to grow in our area.”

WNS offers business value to 200+ global clients by combining operational excellence with deep domain expertise in key industry verticals including Travel, Insurance, Banking and Financial Services, Manufacturing, Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods, Shipping and Logistics, Healthcare and Utilities. WNS delivers an entire spectrum of business process management services such as finance and accounting, customer care, technology solutions, research and analytics and industry specific back office and front office processes.

As of June 30, 2015, WNS had 29,672 professionals across 37 delivery centers worldwide including China, Costa Rica, India, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, visit www.wns.com

575 Oak Ridge 16Women’s Distribution Services (WDS), a storage and distribution company headquartered in Lake Wylie, South Carolina, has leased 88,140 square feet of industrial space from Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services in Humboldt Industrial Park, Hazle Township, Luzerne County. The space includes 21,910 square feet Mericle is adding to the building to accommodate the company’s growth. The project was announced by Mericle President and CEO Robert Mericle.

WDS will use the space at 575 Oak Ridge Road to provide warehousing, distribution, and inventory management services to its customers.

“WDS is very excited about expanding its storage and distribution hub in Hazleton,” said company chief operating officer Shawn Bush. “I foresee the added capacity to increase product depths offered and to expand our concentration to a wider area in the Northeast.”

Mericle Vice President Jim Hilsher coordinated the real estate transaction along with Steve Cole from the real estate brokerage firm NAI Mertz of Plains Township. Hilsher said the company began operations in the building in August. He said the expansion is set to be finished by the first quarter of 2016.

“We are glad we had workable space in close proximity to WDS,” said Hilsher. The project will help the company retain and create jobs and provide for future growth.”

WDS turned to Mericle for more space after outgrowing its current facility in Humboldt Industrial Park.

The company serves clients in the food processing, medical, and technology industries with 22 locations across the United States and Canada. Numerous Fortune 500 companies are WDS customers.

The company offers in-house supply chain manufacturing and engineering processes that help customers increase productivity and efficiency. WDS also offers process improvement solutions and audit compliance. To learn more about the company, visit http://womends.com/about-us/.

CAN DO President Kevin O’Donnell said the agency is excited to have WDS located in Humboldt Industrial Park and recognized the important role Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services has played in the growth of the industrial park. “Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services has been a great partner

over the years in helping to bring jobs and new opportunities to Greater Hazleton,” he said. “They have played a role in many of the large projects that have taken place here over the years,” O’Donnell said.

Mericle has developed 12 buildings totaling more than 4.3 million square feet in Humboldt Industrial Park. Mericle’s tenants and clients in Humboldt include Amazon.com, Michael’s Handcrafts, Econoco, Nature’s Bounty, Freedom Corrugated, E&B Giftware, Tech Packaging, American Environmental Outfitters, and Simmons. More than 13,400 people work in the approximately 18 million square feet of commercial space Mericle has developed in Northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.mericle.com.

IMG_6872 - CopyItoh Denki USA, a developer of motorized rollers and components, has broken ground on a new U.S. sales and manufacturing headquarters on an 18.81 acre parcel in the Hanover Crossings Business Park, Hanover Township.

The company expects to move into the 46,000 square foot facility on Great Valley Boulevard in the first quarter of 2016. Itoh Denki USA will relocate from smaller space it leases from Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services on Stewart Road in Hanover Industrial Estates. Mericle is also constructing the new building.

The project will retain 21 jobs and Itoh Denki USA expects to create 8 to 10 additional jobs over the next few years.

“Our U.S. factory manufacturers the Itoh Power Moller products for the North and South American markets,” said Richard Kosik, President of Itoh Denki USA. “We are very pleased that Itoh Denki Japan approved the land purchase and factory construction for Hanover Crossings. This location provides the ease of access for the international air cargo shipments of components into the New York City airports, in addition to using the New York area Ports for our ocean freight. Interstates 81 and 80 provide quick deliveries to our customers who are mostly located in the Northeast US.”

“Working with Mericle Commercial we were able to locate a premier building site very near our current location,” added Kosik. “This will allow us to retain our current workforce, which is important since many workers average over 10 years with the company”.

Itoh Denki USA was founded in 1996 in order to meet the growing demand for motorized conveyor rollers from U.S. businesses. Itoh Denki USA is a division of Itoh Denki Co., Ltd. of Kasai, Japan.

Itoh Denki Co., Ltd. was founded in Japan in 1946. The company started out as a small shop repairing conventional motors and soldering tools and then expanded into the design and sale of its own electric motors. In 1975, Itoh Denki Co., Ltd. developed the motorized conveyor roller. It consisted of a standard conveyor roller tube with a company-developed electric motor and gear set inside. These first products were AC powered. Throughout the years the company continued to manufacture AC powered rollers but also added a more economical and powerful 24V DC powered product line named the Power Moller 24®.

This history of R&D and manufacturing has provided Itoh Denki USA the foundation to build a 70% market share.

“The 24v DC Power Moller is a safe, quiet and energy savings alternative to traditional conveyor technologies,” said Kosik. “Because of these features, we have gained acceptance in the latest high tech distribution and automation systems. With recent advances in our controllers, the Itoh Power Moller is now being directly interfaced with upper level control networks. This new factory will give us a 50% increase in production capacity which will allow us to meet the continuing trend toward robotics and automation.”

Mericle Vice President Jim Hilsher is coordinating the expansion project. Hilsher has worked with Itoh Denki since 1996 when the company first became a tenant in the Mericle flex building at 155 Stewart Road. He said the company expanded several times within the building and has finally reached the point where it needs to move into its own facility.

Hilsher said Mericle began site work on the parcel in June as part of the company’s ReadyToGo!™ Program, an initiative to fully prepare sites in advance of building construction. While site work was underway, Mericle and Itoh Denki reached agreement on the construction of the new facility.

Hilsher thanked the Hanover Township Commissioners for their cooperation in providing all of the approvals necessary to keep the project on schedule.

“This expansion is great news for the company and Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Wico van Genderen, CEO of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. “The fact that an international company of Itoh Denki’s stature opened its U.S. headquarters in Hanover Township and continues to grow, speaks volumes about this area’s viability as a world class manufacturing location. This area is a great place to do business and we are hoping that more global manufacturing companies follow Itoh Denki’s lead.”

This will be the 27th building Mericle has developed in Hanover Crossings Business Park and the adjacent Hanover Industrial Estates. Mericle’s buildings in the two parks total more than 2.6 million square feet and are home to more than 2,500 workers.

250-300ResearchDrive_49Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services has begun constructing a 279,000 square foot industrial building on speculation at 220-300 Research Drive in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East, Jenkins Township, Luzerne County.

The project was announced by Mericle President Robert Mericle who said the decision to construct the building was influenced, in part, by a recent increase in inquiries from manufacturing companies.

“We are encouraged by the uptick in calls from local and out-of-area manufacturers seeking to expand in our area,” Mericle said. “We decided to construct the building to ensure that we have an ample supply of the type of space they are seeking.”

Mericle said manufacturers typically seek buildings with strong power, energy efficient lighting and heating, wide column spacing, modern loading, and quick highway access. “We designed the building to meet all of these criteria,” Mericle said.

The building will be the 25th constructed in the park since 2007 and will bring the total square feet in CenterPoint East and West to almost 6.3 million. The 38 tenants in the park together employ approximately 4,500 people.

Mericle said crews from Mericle Construction have completed site work and installed the building’s foundations and steel erection has begun. He said the building will be ready for tenants by spring, 2016.

He said the building can be subdivided to house up to four tenants and he expects there to be interest from a variety of manufacturing and distribution companies. He estimates that 125 to 200 people will work in the building when it is fully occupied.

In 2014 Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services provided industrial space in CenterPoint West to Greiner Packaging International, one of Europe’s leaders in the manufacturing of premium packaging. Last week, Mericle announced the start of construction of a 46,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Hanover Crossings for Japanese firm Itoh Denki.

Robert Mericle said the site for the new spec building had been fully prepared in advance as part of his company’s ReadyToGo!™ Program. Through the program, Mericle Construction is clearing, grading and compacting, and obtaining all permits and approvals, for 90 sites in 11 local business parks. To date, work has been completed on 40 ReadyToGo!™ Sites.

PENNDOT_expansion_siteConstruction is well underway on an estimated $51.4 million project, which will improve access to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and several local business parks.

PennDOT began construction in mid-2013 and work is expected to last through 2015.

Part of the project calls for the construction of a .85-mile access road from the existing airport entrance off I-81, over I-476, and connecting to Commerce Boulevard in Grimes Industrial Park, giving trucks better access to the interstate.

Adjacent parks such as O’Hara Industrial Park and Mericle’s fast-growing CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park will also benefit from the project. Upon completion, the three parks will have two very convenient access points to I-81.

“Having a wide variety of real estate offerings is critical to recruiting companies and creating and retaining jobs,” said Mericle Vice President of Marketing Jim Cummings. “Companies often call us because they’ve found an available property within our portfolio that they think will work for them. In most cases however, they need to be convinced of two things before they’re willing to move into a Mericle building – how quickly can they access the interstate system and can they attract quality workers there.”

“Companies like CenterPoint and Grimes Industrial Park because the parks are in the middle of the labor market and are equidistant to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre,” Cummings said. “More than 470,000 people live within 20 miles, which really helps companies draw employees.”

“We need to make sure we don’t become victims of our own success, however,” he said. “Highway access to the business parks at Exit 175 of I-81 has been excellent to date, which has led to major investments by dozens of companies. We estimate that 9,000 people work off of Exit 175 including about 4,500 in CenterPoint alone. The new $51 million road project will go a long way to ensuring that highway access stays excellent long into the future, which will no doubt lead to the creation of thousands of additional jobs.”

SchuylkillMallAerial2TruBridge, a Mobile, Alabama based company that provides business, consulting, and IT services, has leased 12,394 square feet within the Schuylkill Mall, in Frackville, Pennsylvania. The former retail space is being converted to offices so that TruBridge can provide support to several healthcare clients.

The project was announced by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett who said TruBridge plans to invest more than $270,000 at the new site and anticipates creating more than 100 jobs over the next three years.

Lease negotiations were coordinated by Julia Namutka, Sales and Leasing Agent for Mericle Commercial Real Estate Group, Inc., Wilkes-Barre. She thanked Michael Pearlstein of mall owner Empire Schuylkill L.P. for working hard to complete the transaction. Renovations are underway and the space will be ready for occupancy in early 2015.

“Companies such as TruBridge continue to see the benefits of bringing their businesses to Pennsylvania,” Governor Corbett said. “More than 100 new jobs are coming to Schuylkill County and I am pleased to welcome TruBridge to the commonwealth’s growing business community.”

The company received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development that includes up to $306,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits.

“We’re excited to have this expansion take place in Schuylkill County,” said Chris Fowler, President of TruBridge. “This move will allow us to not only help further stimulate the economy in Pennsylvania, but will also allow us to better meet the business needs of community healthcare organizations in this region.”

Mericle’s Namutka, who serves as the leasing agent for the Schuylkill Mall, praised the team effort that helped bring TruBridge to Schuylkill County. “Empire Schuylkill L.P., the Governor’s Action Team, and the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO), all played key roles in making this project happen,” she said.

Namutka said Frank Zukas and Brian Hansbury of SEDCO introduced the idea of moving into the Mall to TruBridge executives. “Frank and Brian did a fantastic job,” she said. “They provided excellent service to TruBridge and we thank them for thinking of the Mall during TruBridge’s site search.”

Zukas, SEDCO’s executive director, said the company was referred through Schuylkill Medical Center. Zukas said the two hospitals are clients of the company that provides third-part calling associated with insurance billing.

“We are thrilled with TruBridge’s decision to locate its service center in our community,” said John Boyer, Chairman of the SEDCO Board of Directors. “It’s a testament to our great workforce and ideal business climate. SEDCO thanks the Pennsylvania CareerLink and Governor’s Action Team for their assistance in recruiting TruBridge to Schuylkill County.”

Namutka said changing consumer shopping habits are forcing mall developers across the U.S.to think outside of the box when filling their vacant spaces. “Online retailing combined with next day and even same day product deliveries are having an impact on the traditional bricks and mortar retail model,” she said. “Even Black Friday sales are being impacted. We expect to continue to see non-traditional uses for mall properties all across the country.”

TruBridge helps community healthcare organizations succeed on their path to performance. The company is focused exclusively on providing business, consulting and managed IT services. TruBridge brings years of expertise in delivering effective solutions created for the unique challenges faced by community healthcare organizations.

For more information on TruBridge, visit www.trubridge.com.

Rob Mericle - DiscountDanceSupplyOne of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing suppliers of dancewear is expanding its distribution operation in Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services’ Cross Valley West Professional Building located at 180 Welles Street in Forty Fort, Luzerne County.

Discount Dance Supply is expanding from 79,685 square feet to 189,357 square feet to accommodate the company’s growth on the east coast.

The company employs 90 workers in the building and expects to hire an additional 20 employees due to the expansion.

Discount Dance Supply expects the expansion to grow its market share, provide better service to its customers, and increase sales.

Discount Dance Supply was formed in 1973 as Hill’s Capezio Dance Shop to serve all the dancewear needs of Orange County, California. Ted and Linda Hill purchased a small store in Orange’s Town and Country shopping center, and their store prospered over the years to become one of the largest Capezio dealers in California. In 1992, after opening additional stores in Southern California, the company opened its mail order division to provide dancewear nationwide under the name Discount Dance Supply. Today, Discount Dance Supply is the largest supplier of dancewear in the country.

The company’s e-commerce division generates thousands of daily shipments to customers around the globe. Brian Hill, the founder’s son and CEO said the company is excited to be expanding its distribution in Forty Fort and believes this expansion, “gives us a strategic business advantage in the dancewear industry.”

Mericle Vice President Jim Hilsher coordinated the project. He said the Discount Dance Supply project is the latest example of the growth of E-Commerce fulfillment in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He said 18 of the top E-commerce companies have fulfillment centers in the region including Neiman Marcus, J.P. Boden, Amazon.com, American Eagle Outfitters, CVS Caremark, BabyAge.com, and Webgistix/Rakuten.

“With the evolution of online retailing and the push for ever-shorter delivery windows, E-commerce companies are seeking areas where they can establish strategically located and cost-efficient fulfillment operations,“ Hilsher said. “Northeastern Pennsylvania fits that bill.”

Hilsher said the region’s combination of immediate interstate access, close proximity to the east coast’s consumption zones, availability of overnight delivery companies, affordable business costs, a great workforce, and an ample supply of industrial space and sites, are combining to draw E-commerce companies.

For more information, visit www.discountdance.com and www.mericle.com.

Most entrepreneurs look to the future when starting a new business. However, when Robert K. Mericle founded Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services in 1985, he looked to the past to find the road map that would help his development business grow.

Rob Mericle created Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services as a vertically-integrated company with in-house professionals with expertise in virtually all aspects of commercial real estate development and construction. By self performing virtually all aspects of a project, using its own in-house personnel, Mericle Commercial Real Estate is better able to control costs and fast track delivery schedules to meet its clients’ needs.

“We fashion Mericle as a throwback to the ‘master builder’ of old when experienced craftsmen self-performed all aspects of the construction processes,” said Mericle Chief Operating Officer Lew Sebia. “We’ve consistently proven our ability to build quality investment grade commercial space at low costs by maintaining an experienced staff that, similar to a manufacturing process, has been able to perfect and fine tune the efficiency of its delivery process. The result has been extremely fast delivery of quality product at very competitive rates.”

The Mericle team includes licensed architects, land planners, professional engineers, surveyors, licensed electricians, plumbers, carpenters, certified public accountants, in-house legal counsel, leasing and marketing professionals, licensed brokers, property managers and so on.

Mericle Construction even has its own land excavation division, the largest bulk excavation operation in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with more than $20 million worth of owned heavy equipment and an entire team of dedicated professionals that self performs all of Mericle’s site work from leveling building pads to crushing stone for pad development to making all of the topsoil for the sites.

Since 1985, Mericle Commercial has developed more than 18 million square feet of industrial, office, and flex space. Today, that space houses more than 13,400 workers. Mericle has consistently, throughout its history, developed inventory space and then leased that inventory space to users identified by its marketing and leasing teams through a deep network of relationships with brokers, site consultants and end users.

Because of its own in-house resources, led by a marketing and leasing team with more than 100 years of combined real estate and economic development experience, Mericle Commercial has always been the leader in securing quality tenants to fill the inventory space that it constructs. It has consistently maintained the stability of its portfolio by attracting and retaining quality tenants.

“We are very proud of the fact that we have never lost an existing tenant to a competitor in our core market,” said Sebia. “Our ability to attract and retain quality tenants for our portfolio has been the catalyst for Mericle’s growth for more than a quarter century and will lead us into a successful future.”

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Northeastern Pennsylvania native, Robert K. Mericle, had a vision of creating an industrial park with convenient access to all of the major commercial hubs of the Northeast. In 2005, Mericle’s vision became a reality.

Robert Mericle created CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park in 2005. Since then, CenterPoint has grown at a tremendous pace. Mericle has developed 6 million square feet of industrial and flex space on the park that houses 39 companies and 4,500 jobs. Mericle’s CenterPoint has solidified Northeastern Pennsylvania as a distribution and industrial hotspot along Interstate 81, dubbed the “I-81 Corridor.”

Mericle’s CenterPoint is home to companies such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Kimberly Clark, Corning Life Sciences, Men’s Warehouse, Benco Dental, Neiman Marcus, Greiner Packaging, United Sporting Companies, Fed-Ex Ground, and more.

“We are pleased with the number of prominent companies that have moved into CenterPoint,” said Mericle Vice President Jim Cummings. “We built CenterPoint in an ideal location for distribution and industrial operations. It is located in the center of the Boston/Washington Corridor, at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 476. CenterPoint is a two hour drive from both New York City and Philadelphia, which is a huge advantage to our tenants serving the Northeast.”

Many companies located within CenterPoint serve from Maine to Virginia and west to Ohio. For one company, British clothier Boden, their CenterPoint location is their only US distribution center, processing and shipping their customer’s orders from east to west coast. Boden searched locations in many states before choosing to base their U.S. operations along the I-81 Corridor, specifically Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Robert Mericle is a trendsetter. Since CenterPoint’s inception in 2005, the I-81 Corridor has quickly become an industrial mecca. In the time since Mericle first broke ground at CenterPoint, more than 15 million square feet, or about 20% of the total Class A and Class B bulk industrial space in the entire market, has been built.

Mericle, the largest private developer of industrial real estate along the I-81 Corridor, has developed more than 18 million square feet since 1985. An estimated 13,400 people work in the millions of square feet developed by Mericle.

Location is the most important aspect of real estate. Northeastern Pennsylvania, where Mericle’s properties are located, offers a prime location for businesses looking to serve the Northeast, East Coast, or the entire country. A close second, when deciding where to locate an industrial operation, is the quality and quantity of workforce in the region.

Northeastern Pennsylvania has a readily available, highly productive workforce that has long been known for its work ethic.

“Northeastern Pennsylvania is full of hardworking, dedicated people,” said Cummings. “I have heard countless stories from our tenants about the exceptional experiences they have had with the Northeastern Pennsylvania workforce. In fact, many managers have told me that they have never met harder working employees than their employees in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

The “I-81 Corridor” is quickly becoming one of the nation’s focal points for industrial and distribution operations. The region has a lot to offer, including its easily accessible location and strong workforce. Mericle is further solidifying the region’s position by continuously building industrial space, creating new jobs, and attracting national and international companies to move to the I-81 Corridor.

For more information about Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services and CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park, visit www.mericle.com.

During the “worst recession since the Great Depression,” most commercial real estate developers stopped developing buildings on speculation. Not Robert K. Mericle.

Since mid-2008, Robert Mericle’s company, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, has constructed 15 buildings on speculation along Northeastern Pennsylvania’s I-81 Corridor. These new buildings have ranged from just under 25,000 square feet to more than 400,000 square feet and have included bulk industrial, flex, and office space.

Mericle plans to begin construction on more spec buildings shortly.

Robert Mericle founded Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in 1985 and has grown the company to more than 200 employees. Mericle has developed more than 18 million square feet in Northeastern Pennsylvania, most of it on speculation. More than 13,400 people work in Mericle-developed facilities.

Robert Mericle’s belief in his home area as a premier location for new businesses has paid dividends. Since mid- 2008, Mericle’s company has provided new homes for 87 firms in Northeastern Pennsylvania. These companies are occupying 6.5 million square feet and are creating and retaining more than 6,800 jobs with a combined annual payroll of close to $250 million.

Among the companies that have moved into Mericle spec buildings since mid-2008 are Amazon.com, Bimbo Bakeries, FedEx Ground, Home Depot, Corning Life Sciences, Benco Dental, United Sporting Companies, Cintas, Geisinger, Henry Schein, Neiman Marcus, and Pella Products.

“We have tremendous confidence in the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Mericle Vice President Jim Cummings. “They are among the most productive people in the United States and define the term ‘work ethic.’ When you combine our great people with our exceptional highway system and Mericle’s modern buildings, you have a winning combination that reduces our risk of building on speculation.”

Once a company leases space in a building developed by Mericle, they tend to stay. Mericle employees provide around the clock property management services to make sure tenants’ needs are responded to quickly and efficiently.

Mericle buildings can be found along the highways that converge in Northeastern Pennsylvania. For example, Mericle buildings in Humboldt Industrial Park near Hazleton provide immediate access to both Interstates 81 and 80, the “Crossroads of the East” while Mericle buildings in CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park near Pittston are less than one mile from both I-81 and I-476.

Since 1985, Mericle has provided commercial real estate solutions to 36 Fortune 500 firms.

sky-zone-selects-mericle-commercial-flex-buildingSky Zone, which claims to offer the “ultimate 3-D play experience” will open Northeastern Pennsylvania’s first-ever indoor trampoline park in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park East in a flex building constructed on speculation by Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services.

The new venture will be called “Sky Zone Scranton” and will occupy 20,440 square feet in the 120,000 square foot building at 525 Keystone Avenue in Jenkins Township, Luzerne County. The family entertainment business is expected to open this September.

"We think Sky Zone will be a great addition to the local entertainment landscape," said Mericle Vice President Bob Besecker, who coordinated the project.

Besecker thanked Steve Clipman from Bennett Williams Realty, Inc. located in York, PA, who represented Sky Zone in this transaction.

According to an article published in the Citizens Voice newspaper, Jeff Bowne, an Allentown resident who is moving to Scranton, will own the local business with his sister Jennifer Crounse and her husband Michael.

The space will feature connecting trampolines in an open court with about 12,500 square feet of jump space as well as two dodge ball courts, a "SkySlam" basketball court, a fitness class called "SkyRobics" and a Foam Zone according to Bowne.

Sky Zone will be available for birthday parties, dodge ball tournaments, fund-raising events, corporate team building and class field trips, Bowne said.

"This project demonstrates, perhaps more than any other, how flexible our flex buildings really are," Besecker said. "Whether you are a manufacturer, distributor, office or medical firm, or even an indoor trampoline park, we can customize our flex space to your exact needs."

Sky Zone is moving into the same Mericle flex building where Maximus and C3i are together creating close to 950 office jobs. SkyZone plans to hire 65 to 70 people, mostly part-time with five full-time staff members according to Bowne. For more information, visit skyzone.com/Scranton.

Besecker said 11,517 square feet remain available for lease in the building.

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, founded by Robert Mericle, has provided commercial real estate solutions to companies in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania for close to 30 years. Mericle is a developer of investment grade industrial, office, flex, and medical space and fully-prepared sites. More than 13,400 people work in the buildings Mericle has developed.

C3i-501-575-keystone-aveC3i, a technology company that serves the life sciences industry, will create 256 jobs at a new help desk center in CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park East, Jenkins Township. The project was announced by Michael Rossman, Director of the Governor’s Action Team, at the flex building at 501 Keystone Avenue recently constructed on speculation by Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services.

The new office is needed because C3i recently won large contracts with two global pharmaceutical companies to provide help desk support services for campus and field sales based personnel. The company expects to begin receiving calls in the new 25,000 square foot office in June.

C3i will create 100 jobs initially and another 156 within the next three years. Positions to be filled include help desk technicians and management personnel such as supervisors, trainers, quality assurance analysts, and subject matter experts. All of these jobs will be posted at the company’s web site at www.c3i-inc.com.

C3i CEO and co-founder Joel Morse said the new office will be open 24 hours a day and while all calls in this center will be handled in English, they will originate from anywhere in the world. “A pharmaceutical sales representative in Australia requiring English language support will have their call routed to this center,” he said.

This will be the third operation opened by C3i in a Mericle building. In 2007, C3i opened an office in the East Mountain Corporate Center in Plains Township and in 2012 it opened a hardware services center in CenterPoint East. C3i employs more than 350 people in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Morse cited a number of factors that led to C3i’s decision to open the new help desk center in CenterPoint. These included the area’s productive workforce, the operational synergies of having offices and hardware depot services centers in close proximity to each other, and the area’s pro-business approach led by Mericle, the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, Jenkins Township, Luzerne County and the Pittston Area School District.

Morse thanked Mericle for making an investment in speculative construction in CenterPoint. “The fact that the CenterPoint buildings were up and ready made it much easier for us to make the decisions to locate our hardware services center and help desk center here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” he said.

Mericle Vice President Bob Besecker coordinated the real estate transaction. C3i was represented by Alex Jinishian from Colliers International’s New York City Office and John Susanin from Colliers’ Philadelphia office.

Besecker said C3i becomes CenterPoint’s 38th tenant and joins Maximus and Greiner Packaging International, which recently announced they had signed leases with Mericle. When these three companies are fully staffed, there will be 4,500 people working in CenterPoint according to Besecker.

Besecker said C3i, Maximus, and Greiner Packaging International all leased space in buildings Mericle had constructed on speculation on ReadyToGo!™ sites. “It is critical that we have a wide variety of space available when companies are considering bringing their jobs to Northeastern Pennsylvania,” he said.

Besecker said Mericle hopes to build several additional speculative buildings in CenterPoint in 2014.

For more information about Mericle and its ReadyToGo!™ program, visit mericle.com.

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, founded by Robert Mericle, is a vertically-integrated company with more than 200 in-house professionals with expertise in all aspects of commercial real estate development and construction. The Mericle team includes licensed architects, land planners, professional engineers, surveyors, licensed electricians, plumbers, carpenters, certified public accountants, in-house legal counsel, leasing and marketing professionals, licensed brokers, property managers, and more.

Skilled labor availability, highway accessibility, and labor costs have been ranked as the three most important site selection factors in a recently released national survey of business executives conducted by Area Development Magazine. Other top vote getters, in order, were occupancy/construction costs, advanced information and communications technology services, and building availability. Tax exemptions came in 11th out of the 35 site selection factors that were considered. Land availability finished 13th. Close to 250 executives holding decision-making positions in a variety of business sectors completed the survey. Of the respondents, 39% were from manufacturing companies, while 20% came from finance, insurance, and real estate, 11% from construction and trades, and 10% from distribution and logistics. The executives who had relocation plans were asked to list the primary reasons for moving from their current locations. High taxes was the top vote getter and was cited by 48% of the executives. Other primary reasons listed were labor costs (30%), labor availability (26%), excessive government regulations (24%), and poor infrastructure (19%). Mericle Vice President Jim Cummings said the results of the survey bode well for Mericle’s available properties throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, especially those within CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park. “CenterPoint is less than one mile from I-81 and I-476 and more than 700,000 people live within 30 miles,” he said. “The park’s central location combined with the area’s competitive labor costs, traditionally high unemployment rates, and 17 colleges and universities make labor recruitment very easy,” he said. Cummings said Mericle’s innovative ReadyToGo!™ Program practically guarantees that clients will have a wide variety of buildings and sites from which to choose when they consider CenterPoint. Through the ReadyToGo!™ Program, Mericle is fully preparing more than 90 sites in 11 Northeastern Pennsylvania business parks. Most of the 37 sites that have already been completed are located in CenterPoint. For each ReadyToGo™ Site, Mericle clears, grades, and compacts the parcel and obtains all of the permits and approvals needed to begin the immediate construction of building foundations. Once a client chooses a parcel and signs an agreement, Mericle will have the building ready in seven to ten months. “We have shortened the time between the agreement signing and tenant move-in by one to two years compared to most major metro areas,” Cummings said. All of Mericle’s ReadyToGo!™ Sites in CenterPoint are located in a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) zone. This means that real estate taxes on improvements are abated 100% for 10 years on all building construction projects. In addition, Mericle uses its aggressive speculative building program to make sure prospective tenants have many space options when touring Northeastern Pennsylvania. “We’ve constructed 15 industrial, spec, and office buildings on speculation between the start of the recession in 2008 and today,” said Cummings. “We expect to construct several more in CenterPoint in 2014. Having so many sites available because of our ReadyToGo!™ Program means we can monitor market conditions and quickly construct the type and size of building that is most in demand.” Finally, Mericle’s corporate structure means that its buildings can be offered at lease prices that are much lower than those in competing metro areas. “We are a vertically integrated master builder,” said Cummings. “Our own employees design, construct, fit-out, and maintain our buildings. This allows us to cut out the profit centers that normally drive costs up and slow projects down.” For more information, visit mericle.com. Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, founded by Rob Mericle, has provided commercial real estate solutions to companies in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania for close to 30 years. Mericle is a developer of investment grade industrial, office, flex, and medical space and fully-prepared sites. More than 13,400 people work in the buildings Mericle has developed.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s top locations for growth in the logistics sector. On its web site economicmodeling.com, labor market research firm Economic Modeling Specialists Intl (EMSI) listed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area 5th in the U.S. for total employment growth in the warehousing and storage sector from 2010 through 2013. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, with 8,869 total transportation and warehousing jobs and a growth rate of 21%, finished behind Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, California; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis-Carmel, Indiana; and Memphis, Tennessee. Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton, Pennsylvania finished 6th. American Eagle Outfitters, Amazon.com, Corning, The Home Depot, Benco Dental, Neiman Marcus and Boden USA are just some of the firms that have opened major distribution centers in Northeastern Pennsylvania in recent years. The results of several other recent national studies bode well for future industrial growth in Northeastern Pennsylvania. An analysis of fourth quarter 2013 data by Dr. Hany Guirguis, Manhattan College, and Dr. Joshua Harris, University of Central Florida, indicates that robust net absorption of industrial space is expected to continue through 2014 and 2015. Guirguis and Harris believe the housing recovery and employment growth are two of the main contributors to the industrial resurgence. “We see the return of housing as a significant part of the economy driving the need for industrial space, as building products and materials need to be warehoused and shipped across the nation to meet local demand. Further, each new housing unit will need to be furnished and will create demand for other household goods, which in turn fuels even more industrial space demand. These are long-term trends and thus partially explain the forecast of strong levels of industrial space absorption,” said Harris. The analysis was funded by the NAIOP Research Foundation. Since 1967, NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, has been a leading organization for developers, owners, and investors of office, industrial, retail, and mixed-use real estate. According to Guirguis and Harris, “the major drivers for this predicted positive net absorption of industrial space, which could top 250 million square feet in 2014, are a return to more than 3 percent annualized GDP growth and a much improved U.S. employment situation.” Locally, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services has seen an uptick in requests for industrial space. “We are encouraged by what we are seeing,” said Mericle Vice President of Marketing Jim Cummings. “We are fielding a mix of requests for space from a variety of manufacturers and distributors.” Cummings added that Northern New Jersey, historically one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s top competitors, is struggling to supply large industrial sites for new construction. “We are submitting lease proposals for projects of all sizes, from 10,000 square feet to 1 million square feet, but we are hearing from our national broker contacts that large sites are becoming very scarce in New Jersey,” said Cummings. “We believe New Jersey’s loss will be our gain.” In their analysis, Guirguis and Harris said, “New demand for industrial space most likely will come from the construction and retail trade sectors, which have been experiencing marked gains. Increases in new housing starts, up 18 percent in 2013, likely will continue as the growing population and sustained rate of new household formations suggest an undersupply of housing units for several years.” Guirguis and Harris added, “Further, gains in employment will continue to translate into additional purchasing power, fueling gains in retail sales, which set another all-time high in December 2013. The combined forces of these two trends likely will result in continued growth in demand for warehousing and distribution facilities, specifically from the retail trade and housing construction sectors.” Their analysis suggests that eCommerce fulfillment, a growth sector in Northeastern Pennsylvania, will likely continue to expand. “Of note is that historically, increased retail sales generated demand for retail space in shopping centers and malls,” said Guirguis and Harris. “However, as consumers purchase items online versus in person at traditional stores, demand for distribution and fulfillment centers will only increase.” Research conducted recently by Mericle determined that 18 of the top 500 Internet retailers have distribution centers in the area. These include Mericle clients such as Amazon.com, American Eagle Outfitters, BabyAge.com, J.P. Boden, CVS Caremark, All About Dance/Discount Dance Supply, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Men’s Wearhouse, NBTY, The Neiman Marcus Group, Sears, and Webgistix/Rakuten. “More than 51 million people live within 200 miles of Wilkes-Barre,” said Cummings. “Our proximity to the major east coast consumption zones combined with affordable operating costs and an ample supply of available buildings and fully prepared sites will continue to be attractive to these eCommerce companies.” In 2013, Motorola completed a Warehouse Vision Survey, and the results support the Guirguis and Harris analysis. In its national survey, Motorola asked warehouse IT and operational personnel in the manufacturing, retail, wholesale, and third party logistics (3PL) market segments to indicate whether they expect to see growth in their U.S. distribution facilities between 2013 and 2018. Among the findings were that 35% plan to increase their number of warehouses, 38% plan to expand the size of their warehouses, and 45% plan to increase the number of their employees. Cummings said Mericle designed its ReadyToGo!™ Program to make sure it had a wide variety of buildings and sites immediately available to accommodate inquiries from distribution, manufacturing, office, and healthcare clients. Through the program, Mericle is fully preparing 90 sites in 11 business parks throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and is constructing buildings on speculation to keep up with market demand. So far, Mericle has completed 37 ReadyToGo!™ Sites. Neiman Marcus, Maximus, C3i, and Greiner Packaging recently located in buildings Mericle had constructed on speculation on ReadyToGo!™ Sites. Together, the firms are creating more than 1,000 new jobs. “We are prepared for the resurgence in industrial growth but we are ready for all types of tenants,” said Cummings. “We are very confident in Northeastern Pennsylvania’s ability to compete for new projects and new jobs.” Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services, founded by Robert K. Mericle, is a vertically-integrated company with more than 200 in-house professionals with expertise in all aspects of commercial real estate development and construction. The Mericle team includes licensed architects, land planners, professional engineers, surveyors, licensed electricians, plumbers, carpenters, certified public accountants, in-house legal counsel, leasing and marketing professionals, licensed brokers, property managers, and more. For more information about Mericle and its ReadyToGo!™ Program, visit mericle.com.
mericle-construction-site-work-2The ReadyToGo!™ Program, a unique speculative development strategy created by Robert K. Mericle, has proved to be an economic boon for Northeastern Pennsylvania.Through the program, Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services is making a major investment in new speculative buildings and fully prepared sites. Announced by Rob Mericle just three years ago, the program has already helped to create and retain thousands of jobs in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area.

According to Mericle Vice President of Marketing Jim Cummings, Mericle is fully preparing more than 90 ReadyToGo!™ Sites and is building dozens of speculative commercial buildings on approximately 1,700 acres it owns in 11 business parks along Pennsylvania’s I-81 Corridor.

Over the past three years, 16 companies have moved into the buildings Mericle has constructed on speculation, or purchased one of the developer’s ReadyToGo!™ Sites. These firms are creating and retaining more than 3,400 jobs and include American Eagle Outfitters, Benco Dental, Corning, Greiner Packaging, Maximus, C3i, A.Duie Pyle, Geisinger, Neiman Marcus and Tech Packaging.

For its ReadyToGo!™ Sites, Mericle Construction, Inc. obtains all permits and full subdivision, land development, and utility approvals. In most cases, all grading, including the placement of compacted stone sub-base in the building and pavement areas is completed and the parcels are made completely ready for immediate construction.

Mericle’s ReadyToGo!™ Sites range from 1.15 acres to 127 acres and can accommodate companies needing buildings from less than 5,000 square feet to more than one million square feet. Mericle is finding the sites and its spec buildings to be attractive to manufacturers, distributors, medical professionals, and a variety of office and business services firms.

“Within just six to nine months of the signing of a lease, we can construct a new facility and have it ready for a tenant on any of our ReadyToGo!™ Sites,” said Cummings. “By comparison, it would typically take a competing developer 12 to 24 months to obtain all permits and approvals, prepare a site, and construct a new facility.”

“We don’t think there are very many, if any, communities throughout the entire country that will be able to match our incredibly short timetable to occupancy,” he said.

Mericle has already completed 37 ReadyToGo!™ Sites of various sizes in CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park East, CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park West, the East Mountain Corporate Center, the Jessup Small Business Center, Grimes Industrial Park and Humboldt Industrial Park. Mericle is constructing speculative industrial, office, and flex buildings on several of those parcels.

Mericle uses its own resources to prepare the pads and construct the buildings. The company’s in-house design team, engineers, construction employees, and heavy equipment operators all contribute to the effort. “We do all of the planning and construction ourselves,” said Cummings. “That helps moves things along very quickly and cost effectively.”

“As we make progress filling our spec buildings we will construct more,” Cummings said. “Putting the parcels in ready to go condition means that we can get new spec buildings up in record time.”

One industry sector that is seeing tremendous growth in Northeastern Pennsylvania is e-commerce fulfillment. Twenty of the top 500 e-commerce firms on internet retailer.com have major fulfillment or bulk distribution operations in the region and 13 are Mericle tenants or clients. Mericle’s ReadyToGo! Program has contributed to the growth of the e-commerce sector, especially in CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park.

The majority of the ReadyToGo! Sites completed by Mericle to date are located in CenterPoint as are the majority of spec industrial and flex buildings constructed by Mericle since 2008. Companies active in e-commerce such as Lowe’s, Home Depot, Men’s Wearhouse, Benco Dental, J.P. Boden, Neiman Marcus, Babyage.com, and Jerry’s Sports Center all distribute from CenterPoint and all are Mericle tenants or clients. Together, these companies occupy close to 3.2 million square feet and employ about 2,200 people.

Neiman Marcus relocated its East Coast distribution center from New Jersey into a 198,400 square foot Mericle spec building in CenterPoint East. UK retailer J.P. Boden opened its first US call center/distribution center in a Mericle building in the park.

Mericle prepared a ReadyToGo! Site in CenterPoint East for Lowe’s which constructed Luzerne County’s largest building – a bulk distribution center totaling close to 1.6 million square feet. In the adjacent CenterPoint West, Mericle completed a 465,600 square foot build-to-suit for a regional distribution center for The Home Depot.

Two of Mericle’s ReadyToGo! Sites in CenterPoint can accommodate very large industrial buildings. The first at 250 Enterprise Way in CenterPoint West can fit up to 507,600 square feet while the second at 200 Technology Drive in CenterPoint East can fit more than 1 million square feet. These sites are ready for the immediate construction of building foundations. Having FedEx Ground and UPS near the entrances of CenterPoint makes the sites especially appealing to e-commerce fulfillment companies.

Cummings said Mericle plans to develop more than 15 million square feet of space on the more than 1,700 acres. At present, more than 13,400 people work in the more than 18 million square feet developed locally by Mericle since 1986. Cummings said he believes the ReadyToGo!™ Program will continue to maintain and accelerate the company’s speculative building program and will result in the creation and retention of approximately 12,000 more jobs.

To learn more, visit mericle.com.

Founded by Robert K. Mericle, Mericle Construction Inc. self-performs virtually all aspects of development and construction, using its own in-house personnel, Mericle Construction is better able to control costs and fast track delivery schedules to meet its clients’ needs. It fashions itself as a throwback to the “master builder” of old when experienced craftsmen self-performed all aspects of the construction process.