Crayola is consolidating distribution centers to move into an 800,000-square-foot building to be constructed on former Bethlehem Steel Corp. land, company and city officials announced Wednesday.
That will make the Forks Township-based crayon and art supply manufacturer the first tenant of the Majestic Bethlehem Center, a 442-acre business park along Commerce Center Boulevard, which connects Route 412 to the Bethlehem Steel brownfield.
Majestic Realty Co. will build an 800,000-square-foot building to Crayola’s specifications and lease it to its new tenant for no less than 10 years. When completed, it is expected to bring between 60 and 80 jobs to the city.
Construction is expected to begin next month and the center is expected to be operating by March 2013, according to The Express-Times.
“A lot of hard work has been put into making this old brownfield appeal to today’s users,” Mayor John Callahan said through a news release. “Crayola is an excellent first tenant and I look forward to welcoming them into Bethlehem.”
Crayola plans to close existing distribution centers in Bethlehem Township; Hanover Township, Lehigh County; and Lebanon County, a move that company officials said will increase efficiency, according to a story in The Morning Call.
“It will allow us to optimize our logistics and warehouse operations under one roof, expand operations near our domestic manufacturing and office operations, and improve our product flow,” Crayola President and CEO Mike Perry said in a statement provided to local media. “It will provide us with greater efficiencies, cost savings and improved customer service.”
Majestic owns nearly a third of the 1,600-acre portion of the Bethlehem Steel brownfield east of the Minsi Trail Bridge now known as the Bethlehem Commerce Center. Most of the rest of that area is being developed by Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII, which already has a number of tenants.
Earlier this month, Callahan announced Liberty Property Trust had filed plans for in LVIP VII. The mayor also announced a 170,000-square-foot project in the development phase along the Route 412 corridor. In October 2011, Liberty Property Trust broke ground on a 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse, also in LVIP VII.
“All the activity along this key corridor is certain to draw more interest in Bethlehem on a national level,” Callahan said. “We are now seeing the benefit of the public infrastructure investment that funded Commerce Center Boulevard.”
The boulevard, a 4,200-foot road which connects Route 412 to the Steel brownfield, was funded by Northampton County and first opened to traffic in 2005.