First Industrial Realty Trust Inc., a company headquartered in Chicago, has renewed its interest in a 58-acre parcel along Route 248 in Lower Nazareth Township.
The land is on the right-hand side of the road if you're traveling south on Route 248 toward Route 33 -- before the Northampton Crossings shopping center. There are exit and entry roads that access the property -- which is not developed -- that face Prologis Parkway.
“The economy has seen to it that this has been tabled for years," said Gregory Davis of Saul Ewing LLP, who represents First Industrial, at Monday night's Planning Commission meeting in Lower Nazareth.
The development of the property was first pursued in 2002, according to Davis, but the project went through a few sketch plans before being tabled.
The newest sketch plan shows a three-lot subdivision with two warehouses at the back of the property. Paul Szewczak, a principal at Liberty Engineering Inc. in Allentown, said the combined square footage would be 584,000.
The previous design had a single 700,000-square-foot building.
The new design also shows a 150-foot setback behind the warehouse closest to a residential neighborhood. Tractor trailers will not be able to unload behind the buildings, Szewczak said, but fire trucks will be able to fit if needed.
In order to reduce noise and glare from lights, First Industrial plans to install an 8- to 10-foot berm, or wall, between the commercial development and the adjacent residential properties. On top of the berm, the company plans to install a fence that will be 6 feet tall, Szewczak said.
The two buildings will face each other with loading docks running the length of the warehouses, which do not have tenants yet. This will keep the activity centralized with less disruptive activity to the neighborhood, Szewczak explained.
One of the greatest concerns among planning commission members was for Mandy Partners in Easton to have access to the same entry and exit point as First Industrial.
Mandy Partners owns an undeveloped parcel that is adjacent to the 58-acre parcel First Industrial plans to develop.
“Access is the hot point,” said Zachariah Cobrinik, the commission's vice chairman.
Cobrinik told Davis that the commission will give approval to the sketch plan only if a conditional-use easement is incorporated.
Cobrinik added that the commission must ensure that Mandy Partners has access to Route 248 if the company ever decides to develop its land. In addition, if Mandy Partners and First Industrial shared an entrance and exit point, it would limit the number of roads intersecting Route 248.