District: Northface tax break not likely
It appears Palmerton Area School District is headed for a no vote on a tax abatement request from Northface Development Chief Operating Officer George Petrole.
Petrole is planning four roughly 500,000-square-foot warehouses, one each year starting in 2022, on the Northface property located just off Route 248.
He has asked the district, along with Palmerton Borough and Carbon County, to excuse a percentage of the additional tax revenue the buildings would bring in for however many years the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program would be in effect for the property.
Representatives from the three governing bodies met March 31 to discuss the proposal.
“We reached the consensus that to grant that incentive would not necessarily be in the best interest of the community at this time,” PASD Board President Kathy Fallow said Tuesday. “It was discussed during that meeting that the business partner involved here has not instilled a lot of faith in the community over the years.”
Petrole said before construction, Northface would enter into lease-to-own agreements with the companies who would occupy the warehouses.
He pitched the LERTA in order to offer more attractive lease deals.
“If companies can get a lease someplace else at $2 a square foot less, that is where they are going,” Petrole told the district in February.”
In approaching the borough with the LERTA plan, Petrole said the anticipated 2 million square feet of transportation, logistic and warehouse project in Palmerton would create about 475 construction jobs and bring about 1,500 new full-time employees.
Upon build-out, the light industrial campus is anticipated to have a total 2 million square feet of available transportation, logistic or warehouse space.
Using an estimated assessed valuation of $8,217,500 for each building at full taxation and based on current millages, the tax for each building, according to Petrole, would be: Palmerton Borough ($104,927), Palmerton Area School District ($466,583) and Carbon County ($100,664).
Palmerton’s school board did not officially vote Tuesday, but does have a voting session coming up on April 20.
Both the borough and county are scheduled to vote before then, Fallow said.
All three, she said, would have to agree to support the LERTA if it were to move forward.