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Bennett buys 38 acres near proposed hospital

A local businessman with various properties throughout Carbon County has purchased 38 acres near where the proposed St. Luke’s hospital is expected to be built in Franklin Township.

The property transfer is from LEI Realty Holdings Inc. (Lehighton Electronics Inc) to Lehighton Site LLC, 619 Iron St., Lehighton, property at 208 Memorial Drive, in the amount of $1.2 million.

Joe Bennett, managing partner of Bennett Family Properties LLC, said this week, “We’re very pleased to reach an agreement with Austin Blew, who built an incredible business with Lehighton Electronics, and considered the welfare of his employees when he sold to Semilab.”

Bennett said, “We acquired the real estate, which we are leasing the building and its associated footprint to Semilab.

“We are honored to have Semilab as our tenants and look forward to their continuing success. In addition to the building, which is about 10,000 square feet, we acquired 38 acres which is adjoining the St. Luke’s proposed facility.”

Bennett added, “It would be an honor to work with St. Luke’s should the situation present itself. We will continue to maintain the property as we do our other numerous Carbon County properties, and I’m very fortunate to have a team of co-workers and Bennett Family Properties who look after these facilities.”

Bennett said a road is in place, and all the infrastructure necessary to utilize the building pads for other industry and business.

Additionally, he said its proximity to the turnpike, Route 209 and Fairyland Road makes it a good location for growth.

Semilab works with the semiconductor industry and is an international corporation that is very well-respected in its field, Bennett said.

“They employ about 15 local folks who are doing a tremendous job in continuing Mr. and Mrs. Blew’s legacy,” he said.

“We certainly have been approached by one company that is looking to have a building custom-built. However, all good things take time.

“There will be many ancillary business opportunities surrounding a hospital.”

St. Luke’s University Health Network in the spring acquired over 86 acres of land in Franklin where it is expected to build another hospital.

The hospital will be 50 feet tall and encompass 130,000 square feet on a more than 75-acre lot. It will begin with 40 bedrooms and eventually have 80. St. Luke’s expects to employ 200 people at the new facility to start. The lot will have 535 parking spots.

The new hospital will also include an emergency room and helipad to airlift trauma patients when necessary to its main hospital in Bethlehem. The helicopter will be used only for dire situations, Caracciolo said.

The plans include widening Harrity Road to include a left-hand turning lane, he said. Concerns about increased traffic were brought up by both the commissioners and a resident who lives along Reber Street.