Economic development officials in south central Pennsylvania are working with the Army to build a 700,000-square-foot warehouse on land immediately adjacent to Letterkenny Army Depot. The project would allow the depot to consolidate space it leases in a series of 90,000-square-foot, World War II-era warehouses on former Army property while greatly enhancing security. The outdated warehouses are located in the Cumberland Valley Business Park, the reuse project that grew out of the depot’s realignment following the 1995 round of BRAC, and have only limited security. Access to the new building would require passing through Letterkenny’s gate.
While the new warehouse would be located on property that is part of the business park, the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority is working with a developer to lead the project given the amount of financing needed to build a 700,000-square-foot warehouse, L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., told On Base. That organization has been supporting the development authority in its efforts to convert almost 1,500 acres of Army land to commercial use since the depot was realigned.
The public-private partnership will require congressional approval as the Army would need to enter into a long-term lease, Ross said. At this point, the project is working its way through the Army’s approval process, he said.
In addition to increasing physical security for the space the depot leases in the adjacent business park, the project will yield a more functional facility, Ross said. The ceilings in the existing warehouses are only 14 feet high. The new building will be a modern warehouse with high ceilings and will be more efficient to use, improving productivity, he stressed.
The project also would significantly cut the Army’s leasing expenses. The depot now pays about $7 million annually to lease warehouses in the business park, reported the Public Opinion. “They would be spending less than what they are paying now for a better amenity,” Ross said.
Ross is cautiously optimistic the project will go ahead. “To us, it makes all the sense in the world. … We think this would be a great addition to the installation,” he said. Still, working with the federal government “is a process and it’s never over until it’s over.”
Photo by Dan Gleiter