BETHLEHEM, PA-Bowe Bell & Howell and Straight Arrow Products ink multi-year leases for 65,600 sf and 38,400 sf, respectively, in the first building at Opus East’s Bethlehem Crossings Industrial Park, taking occupancy to 100%. They join Milliken Valve, which leased 104,000 sf, or half of the 208,000-sf building, which is located at 2625 Brodhead Rd., in August.

No aggregate rental or rate for any of the leases is disclosed. Area brokers tell that the asking rate for warehouse/distribution facilities here remains steady at just under $4 per sf.

Calling the two leases “a clear indication of the demand for new industrial space on the East side of the Lehigh Valley,” Brian Donley, director of real estate development in the Plymouth Meeting, PA-based Delaware Valley office of Opus East, says his company is accelerating construction of Bethlehem Crossings II, a 235,000-sf structure adjacent the first building. It is expected to reach completion in April 2005. The park is planned to accommodate three buildings of similar size. Opus East is the mid-Atlantic subsidiary of Minnetonka, MN-based Opus Group.

Bowe Bell & Howell resulted from a December 2002 merger of Bell & Howell Co. and Bowe Systec Inc. It combines those companies’ mail and messaging technologies, scanners, and financial services under one brand that provides related hardware, software and services for the document finishing and conversion market. Straight Arrow makes Main and Tail brand cosmetics and will use the new space for warehousing and distribution to retailers in the Northeast.

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