The new owner of the former US Steel site at the Keystone Industrial Port Complex has big plans for development. They expect to bring thousands of jobs and to remove existing environmental hazards.
Base in Missouri, NorthPoint Development specializes in industrial construction. Among its repertoire, the developer builds warehouse space for companies including Walmart, Amazon, and Chewy.
Earlier this year, NorthPoint is under contract to purchase about 1,800 acres of land from US Steel at the KIPC for an unknown price. If all goes according to plan, the deal will close in December of this year.
Jed Momot, NorthPoint’s Chief Strategy Officer, appeared before the Falls Township Planning Commission Tuesday night. He presented the overall plans for the property.
Attorney Michael Meginniss represents the developer and gave a brief introduction. Meginniss is a partner with local law firm Begley, Carlin & Mandio.
“This is a site that everybody in the township is familiar with,” said Meginniss. “We think NorthPoint is going to be an excellent partner with Falls Township for a very long time to come.”
Back in the 1970s, US Steel employed an estimated 5,000 employees at the KIPC. The only remains today are a galvanizing line.
NorthPoint wants to take this property and turn it into “the largest e-commerce, logistics, and multi-model industrial project on the east coast.”
They expect new Keystone Trade Center to bring jobs back to the area in thousands. They project it having, at minimum, 5,000 local workers, though it could support upwards of 10,000 employees.
“It’s very exciting,” said Momot. “I think it will be certainly a shot in the arm for the local and regional economy.”
Currently, no tenants are currently selected to fill the space. This is typical for the developer’s process. Chief Marketing Officer Brent Miles compared it to a home builder putting up several homes at once.
They will build multiple facilities speculatively under a design which can accommodate various different companies. If a tenant truly needs something specific, NorthPoint could then build on a separate lot.
The current plan is to start construction with Phase One in Spring 2021. This includes demolition of existing structures and environmental cleanup.
In the 1990s, the EPA has placed a consent order on the property requiring US Steel to clean abundant contamination. About 70 percent is already up to standards, but the effort is still ongoing today.
Momot stated one of NorthPoint’s priorities is to finish the site’s clean up. The developer will take on a $25 million private expense to bring the remaining 30 percent up to standards.
He added the site has 15 million square feet in development potential. Phase One of NorthPoint’s plan includes 1.5 million square feet of construction. Miles told WBCB NorthPoint estimates they could fill the entire space in a decade or less.
Between NorthPoint and its partners, they estimate the project could cost more than $1.5 billion.
The members of the Falls Township Planning Commission said they were “excited” about the potential project.
“I like what I see and I’m looking forward to moving forward with it,” said Brian Binney.
“I’m excited to see what I see,” said Edward Crohe. “Great presentation and obviously you shared the track record that you can prove what you’re saying you can do.”
Momot and Meginniss both added this is the start of many meetings they hope to have with Falls Township.