FedEx to build 300,000 square foot distionbution center in Jackson Township


Article by Tim Schooley-Reporter

Pittsburgh Business Times

Mar 8, 2013, 6:00am EST Article link PBT

New industrial park has Jackson Township jumping.

Jackson Township Manager Chris Rearick says his community is gearing up for growth thanks to a new business park the Buncher Co. is developing on an 180-acre tract along Route 19 near the Zelienople exit.

With a first phase of largely flex/light industrial space expected to total 350,000 square feet, Jackson’s Pointe Commerce Park is a transformational project for the small town of about 4,000 residents located just north of Cranberry Township. “It certainly exceeded expectations,” Rearick said. “It’s somewhat hard to define

expectations because we’re obviously a new market.”

Buncher has leased all but one building for the initial stage of the project, with three major tenants expected to occupy space in the coming months. They include a new depot for UPS, which will leave its former location in Butler Township for a 45,000-square-foot facility, and LabChem, a maker of small-batch chemicals, which is moving from its former location at U-PARC in Harmar for a 50,000-square-foot facility in Buncher’s project.

Perhaps most significant is the lease inked by ProtoCo, a bulk purchaser of pharmaceutical products and subsidiary of Highmark Inc., for a 150,000-square-foot distribution center at Jackson’s Pointe, which is set to get under construction shortly and open in October.No dollar figures for the park project were made available.

John Bilyak, a principal in the Pittsburgh office of Colliers International who represented LabChem in the lease, said the Jackson project will be a beneficiary of a maxed-out Cranberry commercial market. “Cranberry has enjoyed an enormous amount of success with very limited supply remaining,” Bilyak said. “Buncher saw an opportunity to extend the market through (routes) 19 and 79 to a pad that’s outside of Cranberry, without the development costs of building in Cranberry. It’s very evident how the market reacted.”

The typically press-shy Buncher offered little comment, but a company official confirmed the project is progressing well after a couple years of site work and extending water and electric lines. The official added the company is ready to move forward on a second phase expected to be more focused on retail use, including a hotel.
The original plan for Jackson’s Pointe was to build five 80,000-square-foot buildings; however, since Highmark sought a larger space for ProtoCo, Buncher opted for one larger building.

Lou Oliva, executive managing director of the Pittsburgh office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, which represented UPS in its 45,000-square-foot lease, said he sees the response to Jackson’s Pointe as another example of pent-up demand in a market that’s added little new product in recent years. “It clearly shows that the I-79 corridor remains a great spot,” he said. Gary Wilson, a principal with Langholz Wilson Ellis who represented Highmark in its search, said ProtoCo needed to be near I-79 as it services hospitals in Erie and Morgantown, W.Va.

Rearick said Jackson Township is beginning to generate more interest from Buncher’s project, adding the company’s extension of water and sewer lines for Jackson’s Pointe is expected to culminate in the construction of 60 to 120 new homes in the next two years. “We’re excited to see the success of Buncher has resulted in other interest in the township,” he said.