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MOUNTAINTOP, PA-Sealy, the world’s largest bedding manufacturer, has signed a 10-year lease for a 210,000-sf build-to-suit manufacturing plant on 13.7 acres at 19-23 Elmwood Rd. in Crestwood Industrial Park. Wilkes-Barre-based Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services is developing the facility and is the property owner. The value of the transaction is undisclosed.

Currently, the Archdale, NC-based company’s latex manufacturing is done in Italy and France. This plant, which is located about 30 miles north of an existing Sealy facility in Delano, will be the company’s first US latex manufacturing operation, and it is scheduled to open early next year.

Neither Jim Hilsher, Mericle’s VP of marketing, nor Joe McDermott, SVP in the Philadelphia office of CB Richard Ellis, would disclose either the construction cost of the building or the value of the Sealy lease. McDermott was the sole broker in the lease transaction. “Because of the low vacancy rates in Harrisburg and Central Pennsylvania, companies are looking to the north and south along the I-81 corridor for the space they need,” he says.

On condition of anonymity, a broker familiar with the Luzerne County industrial market tells GlobeSt.com the average asking rental rate for new, class A light manufacturing and warehouse space in this area ranges between $4 and $4.75 per sf, triple net. Hilsher tells GlobeSt.com the property is a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone, which provides Sealy with tax abatements.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry and the Governor’s Action Team provided Sealy with an incentive package of $307,000 from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development. The plant is expected to create 107 new jobs within three years.

The new plant’s proximity to the Delano operations “provides a great opportunity to increase efficiency at both locations as well as increase capacity,” says Mike Hoffman, Sealy’s SVP of operations. David Mcllguham, chairman and CEO, calls the plant one of the company’s most significant 2006 initiatives. Sealy operates 25 plants in North America and sells through approximately 7,000 retail locations worldwide. It had sales of nearly $1.5 billion in 2005.

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