Crow Holdings plans large logistics hub in Berks County

Construction of a state-of-the-art logistics center is slated to begin this month in Ontelaunee Township, Berks County.

Crow Holdings Industrial, the Dallas-based industrial development company of Crow Holdings, purchased a 60-acre property in November from the Greater Berks Development Fund (GBDF), the economic development arm of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA). Johanna Chervak, vice president of Crow Holdings, declined to disclose the sale price on Friday.

GBDF acquired the property in 2019 and worked with municipal authorities in the Township of Ontelaunee to rezone the site for industrial use. Dan Langdon, president of the GBDF, said he was happy that Crow is playing a role in the economic growth of Berks County.

The company plans to develop a 652,080 square foot logistics property that will include 40 feet of headroom, 182 trailer parking spaces, 124 loading docks, four access doors and 484 parking spaces. The center will be located less than a quarter of a mile from Route 61, near Route 73, also known as Lake Shore Drive.

The rental of the property is under the direction of a team led by Jeff Lockard, Senior Managing Director within the North East Industrial Region for JLL, an international commercial real estate and real estate investment company.

The number of warehouses in Lehigh Valley has exploded over the past decade, and warehouse development spread from there into Berks County. The areas are popular because of the relatively cheap land, available labor, and proximity to major trucking routes.

Chervak ​​said that an available labor pool was an important factor in choosing Crow’s location and that the project will create local employment opportunities for those in the Reading area who travel to currently in Lehigh Valley for work.

“In Berks County, and Reading in particular, you have part of the labor pool that goes to the Lehigh Valley,” Chervak ​​said. “Reading is a community that can benefit from additional employment opportunities. “

The development of the warehouses has raised concerns among some residents of Berks and surrounding counties. Recently, in Maxatawny Township, a group of residents battled developers to save a historic cemetery located on a property on which Duke Realty plans to build a 300-acre logistics center, including two 1 million square foot warehouses.

The group struck a deal with Duke, who said they would preserve and improve the cemetery. The remains of a Revolutionary War captain and many of Berks County’s early residents are buried there.

Chervak ​​said she recognized the potential for opposition to Project Crow, but did not anticipate any problems, as Crow and the GBDF worked with township officials to have the land rezoned for use. industrial plants and to plan the project.

“It’s always a concern how receptive a community can be or not, but the GBDF has been working with the township to foster development in this region,” Chervak ​​said.

She described the Township of Ontelanunee as “ municipality that recognizes the economic value of logistics development.

Ontelaunee Township officials released a statement Friday saying, “The Township is delighted that Crow Holdings is developing this land. With proximity to major arteries such as Route 61, 222 and I-78, this property is an ideal location for the facility. We are delighted with the economic growth of our township with the possibility of creating more than 200 jobs. “

Crow launched operations in the northeast in 2018 as part of its national expansion plan. Since then, he has created over 11 million square feet of industrial space in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This is his first business in Berks County.

Since 2000, the Crow Holdings operating companies have developed or acquired more than 170 industrial properties, 54 of which are currently in development, across the United States. Its holdings represent more than 115 million square feet of industrial space.