In a region filled with closed-down plants, modern manufacturing space is lacking
By Jonathan D. Epstein
June 7, 2020
NEWS BUSINESS REPORTER
At first glance, it seems puzzling to build a modern factory on the former Bethlehem Steel site, even without a manufacturer lined up to move into it.
After all, this is a region that is littered with closed-down factories. Over the last 20 years, two of every five factory jobs have disappeared as less skilled manufacturing has shifted to cheaper markets overseas.
So why do we need another factory?
Because there’s still a demand for modern factory space, which is much cleaner and more advanced than in the past.
Yet we don’t have enough modern factories that are ready for use now – and we’re running perilously short of industrial space for the manufacturers that already are here, let alone to accommodate a company that wanted to open a factory here, economic development officials said.
That shortage of industrial space has reached critical levels, those officials said. The constraints are so severe that it means the region could risk losing a growing manufacturer already located here that needs to expand quickly.
Even the Covid-19 pandemic – as much havoc as it’s wreaked on the economy – hasn’t changed that, local real estate brokers say.
“There are fewer buyers in the market, but there’s also a very short supply. That still adds up to supporting the prices,” said David Schiller of Pyramid Brokerage Co.
“I’m having trouble finding solutions.”