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 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,, 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.

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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.