GREENCASTLE, Pa. — L. Michael Ross soon might be able to stop talking.
His prognostications over the past decade about the potential for economic development at Exit 3 of Interstate 81 in Antrim Township, Pa., are coming true.
“I’ve been a broken record for 10 years that this is the best development interchange along (I-)81. And it’s starting to reflect that with everything that’s going on at the interchange and with the opportunity for lots more,” the president of the Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp. said Thursday afternoon at the annual meeting of the Greencastle-Antrim Area Development Corp.
Joining Norfolk Southern, Gate 7 and Armada to the west of I-81 at Exit 3 are plans and construction for Eldorado Stone, Blaise Alexander and Summit Health’s Greencastle Medical Office Building on land developed by Atapco.
Atapco now is working with NorthPoint Development on a possible four-warehouse project that could mean thousands of new jobs.
“They (NorthPoint) are committed to roughly a million square feet,” Ross said. “I’ve gotten a call from them that they think they have a tenant for building No. 2. So they are in discussions there. They are partnered with Atapco that they could do a third, and possibly fourth, building.
“Their expectation if all develops as anticipated, and they have a track record for being able to do this, will mean 2,500 to 3,000 jobs.”
With recent projections showing the Washington-to-Boston region as the most populated in the country, Ross is not surprised with the booming development in south-central Pennsylvania.
“If you want to distribute consumer products to 100 million people, this is the road you have to be on. That’s why you’re seeing it dotted with big boxes,” he said.
With such dramatic rates of development come challenges, including effective growth-management strategies, infrastructure capacities, housing, schools, health care and labor, Ross said.
Those challenges might not hit anywhere harder in the county than the Greencastle-Antrim community and its school district, where officials are struggling with funding a growing student population.
Ross told the approximately 70 people who attended the meeting that the 1-million-square-foot Procter & Gamble production facility along I-81 south of Martinsburg, W.Va., could affect the local community.
“The P&G project in Martinsburg is a big deal for Greencastle,” he said. “I believe that, over time, a lot of people who go to work at the P&G facility will end up building or buying homes in the Greencastle-Antrim School District because of the quality of schools, an easy commute and better opportunity for spousal employment as well.”
Production at P&G will start later this year. The facility will be fully operational by 2019.