CAN DO Officials Eye Continued Success In 2019

December 31, 2018

Officials of CAN DO Inc. hope the current active industrial real estate market carries over into 2019. The area’s economic development organization already will be busy with a couple of projects in the new year — the construction of a second access road from Interstate 81, and another, large speculative building. “It’s been a pretty tremendous time for real estate in Northeast Pennsylvania,” said CAN DO Vice President Joe Lettiere. “There’s been an unbelievable amount of activity. We’re seeing a lot of that.” At its most recent board meeting, CAN DO officials said $1.85 million from the special Luzerne County infrastructure grant program was the last piece of $4.1 million in funding to build the extension of White Birch Drive in Humboldt Industrial Park. That is part of a project that will create a second access for the park to Interstate 81 via the interchange at Route 424, the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Beltway. The extension of White Birch Road will meet a road the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will build from the end of Route 424 at the I-81 junction. “We have to work out the bidding process, the contracting,” said Raiana Nichols, CAN DO’s assistant director of operations. “We have to make sure that puzzle remains together” so that a contract is awarded. PennDOT’s portion would be parallel to I-81 and require an at-grade railroad crossing, which will provide access to the White Birch Road extension directly south of the railroad. CAN DO would pick up the road there and take it another half-mile to meet the industrial park’s road system and eventually make its way to Route 924. Susan Williams, the senior civil engineer who is the transportation supervisor in PennDOT’s District 4-0 office in Dunmore, estimated the PennDOT portion of the road at $17.6 million. The entire project is expected to take three years to complete. Funding is still incomplete for the second phase of the project, improvements to two intersections in Humboldt Industrial Park. Spec buildings A developer wants to build a 470,000-square-foot building right next to where a 440,000-square-foot speculative building has gone up. CAN DO has submitted land development plans to Hazle Twp. for the site. The organization is obtaining approvals for the developers, Lettiere said. He said CAN DO also is working to get the same approvals for a 37.23-acre site in Humboldt North and a 12.8-acre site in Humboldt East, not far from the 50-acre site. There is a lot of activity in Humboldt Station, the commercial development on the parcel closest to Interstate 81. Aside from the two large speculative buildings, plans are unfolding for the construction of a Tru by Hilton hotel, as well as the continued construction — and expansion — of the Coordinated Health building. “The Tru Hilton has a long timeline and has hit some snags with approvals,” Lettiere said. “It is going to three stories from four. They have an architect ... working on the project.” A medical marijuana operation originally planned there may have to be moved, Lettiere said. “One of the few medical marijuana licenses approved in the state is at Site 35 A Humboldt,” Lettiere said. “The group that got the license is looking at other options within the park to meet deadlines with the state when they have to be operational. The nice thing is we will have a grow-process operation in our Humboldt Industrial Park.” Contact the writer: jdino@standardspeaker.com 570-501-3585

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