The I.CON 2014 Industrial Conference for Real Estate, a two day event held at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City, saw the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) tout the area as one the fastest growing markets for industrial and commercial real estate.
In a segment on Thursday, the first day of the conference, called “Anticipation, Expectation and Performance of Emerging Markets”, Don Cunningham, CEO of the LVEDC, discussed how the Lehigh Valley because of its low cost of living, quality of life, educated workforce and location makes this area ideal for business and a growing market for housing, office buildings, factories, and warehouses.
There are national companies already headquartered in the area such as B. Braun, PPL Utilities, Crayola and Air Products. Also many large multi-national corporations maintain a vital presence in the area like Walmart, Kraft Foods, Mack Trucks and Amazon.
Having these established companies in the area makes it easier to attract new business and continually grow the workforce because of a burgeoning job market. There is also a regional plan in place to bring back manufacturing, making for a variety of jobs available in the area. .
Considering the revival of downtown Allentown, with a renewed effort to build-up Bethlehem and Easton, (the other major cities of the Lehigh Valley), means the region is culturally rich, diversified, and attractive to young people.
These are just some of the reasons cited by the LVEDC for the Valley’s job market; which employs over 300,000 people by 15,300 companies making it the 68th largest and growing quickly.
There is currently only 62 million square feet of commercial real estate available, which is almost double what the region offered in 1997 at 35 million square feet. Additionally there is another 27 million square feet proposed for the region, but only about 3 to 4 million added each year.