Nov. 19--CARLISLE- Goodman Birtcher's warehouse plan cemented support from area business leaders, who say the proposal's 1,000-plus jobs and potential tax revenue mean big things for Cumberland County.
Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation CEO Jonathan Bowser said it's not just warehouse jobs, either, that residents can expect from the 2.5 million square-foot site, which will span 175 acres in Carlisle Borough, South Middleton, Dickinson and West Pennsboro townships.
"Yes, there will be some warehousing jobs, but also there will be some professional jobs to include e-commerce, accounting and human resources," Bowser said. "Goodman Birtcher, unlike most developers, plans to maintain and operate the industrial park. They are looking to establish a regional office in the Harrisburg-Carlisle area and be not only a good neighbor, but also be active in the community."
Goodman Birtcher spokesman Tom Ahern said there's a well-educated, stable workforce available in the area to fill a number of types of jobs. Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies -- like those to whom Goodman Birtcher is talking -- require larger, contiguous spaces to house both logistics and professional jobs.
"The site is larger than the other facilities out there, but we're pretty confident there's a market out there," he said.
Ahern said Carlisle's business leaders have provided "very strong, positive responses so far" regarding their plans, despite a myriad of concerns expressed from residents at a Carlisle Borough Council meeting last week.
Residents complained about traffic, potential environmental hazards and decreasing land values as a result of zoning changes required for the logistics complex, but Bowser says the property's current zoning -- commercial/retail -- hasn't attracted any buyers in 10 years.
"The Allen Road exit was redone for this type of activity, so this project does not seem to demand any additional infrastructure costs," he said. "Daily trips to the site is approximately 1,800, whereas if this was a commercial/retail site we would be looking at 19,000 daily trips. So this does have less impact on traffic."
"Everywhere we go, there have been a lot of people excited about creating 1,000 jobs, which we think we can do," Ahern said. "Tax revenue implications for the region are pretty strong."
Bowser agrees with Ahern, describing the approximately $1.2 million in tax revenue to Carlisle Area School District and Cumberland County as "significant."
"In addition, Goodman Birtcher is looking into the possiblity of a Payment In Lieu of Taxes or PILOT with Dickinson Township because the township does not collect real estate tax," Bower said. "Again, this shows their commitment to the community."
The four municipalities involved have yet to vote on the warehouse. South Middleton has no zoning change on which to vote, and Carlisle Borough officials have decided to wait on word from Dickinson Township, which has the biggest stake of land in the project. The township held a public hearing on the warehouse Monday evening.
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