One of the biggest names in corporate America will be taking over a new warehouse in Upper Bern Township.
Amazon announced that it will soon open a 1 million- square-foot fulfillment center adjacent to the Shartlesville exit on Interstate 78, and it will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs.
Amazon spokeswoman Rachael L. Lighty said the building in the 78 Trade Center will be ready by late 2020 or early 2021.
Lighty said the employees will be paid a minimum of $15 per hour with benefits beginning their first day. They will pick, pack and ship smaller customer items, such as apparel. She said Amazon employs more than 10,000 in Pennsylvania, including a large facility in Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County.
"There are a variety of factors we consider when selecting a location for an Amazon facility," Lighty said. "Some of those factors include a dedicated workforce who will raise the bar on being customer obsessed as well as great local support — and we've found both in Pennsylvania. We’re also responding to customer demand and ensuring our fulfillment centers are close to customers, so we can offer great selection, competitive prices, and the great Prime service we know our customers love."
The warehouse, located at 3563 Mountain Road, sits on 89 acres that was previously two privately owned agricultural properties. Upper Bern approved a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, for the property in 2016.
The building has a 40-foot clear height. For shipments, it has 145 dock doors that can be expanded to 182, with parking for up to 264 trailers.
Trammell Crow Co.'s West Conshohocken, Montgomery County, office developed the site, and it is owned by USAA Real Estate, which also has the Lebanon Valley Distribution Center in Bethel Township, Lebanon County, in its portfolio. Jones Lang LaSalle handled the leasing out of its office in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.
According to research from Los Angeles-based commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE, the warehouse market along the I-78 and I-81 corridors has remained active, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
"In the face of state-wide shutdowns of nonessential businesses and strict quarantine guidelines demand for logistics space within the PA I-78/I-81 Corridor persisted," the report said, noting that net absorption in the market was up 5.6 million square feet between the second quarter of 2020.
"But, it is worth noting that most of last year’s demand was tallied during the second half of 2019. To date, food and beverage manufacturers, third-party logistics companies, e-commerce and retailers drove demand while manufacturers and packaging companies rounding out most of the remaining leases signed in 2020," CBRE said. "Finally, a few buildings that had sat vacant for several quarters secured leases, pointing toward a potential uptick in construction in the short term."
CBRE said Berks County had 32.7 million square feet in inventory with 477,232 square feet under construction and a vacancy rate of 14.5%.