County adding to its base

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 31, 2007

COURTLAND—A 474-acre property between Delaware Road and Rose Valley Road will become the county’s next industrial park, following its purchase for $1.8 million by the Industrial Development Authority.

When infrastructure improvements are complete, perhaps as soon as 18 months, it will be the largest industrial site in Southampton, according to County Administrator Michael Johnson.

The Authority purchased the property last month from a family estate, using a portion of $11 million worth of bonds that were sold by the county for the purpose of buying and developing the property.

John Smolak, president and chief executive officer of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., indicated Monday that completing the project and getting the park ready for business could prove a boon to the county’s economic development efforts.

With the Southampton Business Park filling up, the county is running out of industrial space to offer potential investors, he said.

“You need a good product to market,” Smolak said, and the Turner Tract, as the new property is known, could be just that good product.

Adjacent to the railroad tracks and less than two miles from the Route 58 Bypass, the site’s accessibility could make it an ideal place to locate a warehouse, distribution or shipping logistics business, he said.

The economic development group is also marketing the property to companies looking for new locations to conduct light manufacturing or light assembly operations. “We don’t envision there being a heavy manufacturing facility there.”

There has been interest in the site — and a marketing effort aimed at selling it — even before the county owned it, Smolak said, but the county has been unable to attract a buyer without utilities in place.

Purchase agreements, he said, have been a matter of “Does their timeline meet the county’s timeline?”