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HAZLETON, PA-Conshohocken-based Equilibrium Equities has broken ground on a 240,000-sf distribution building on Site 102 in Humboldt Industrial Park East. The spec building will be the first for the eastern portion of the park.

“The shell building construction cost, excluding any office improvements, is about $8 million,” Adam Meinstein, Equilibrium’s president, tells GlobeSt.com. His company acquired the 19.5-acre parcel from Can Do Inc., the Hazleton-area economic development corporation, for $812,000, he says, which translates to $41,641 per acre.

As GlobeSt.com previously reported, Archer Daniels Midland plans a 500,000-sf, $95-million cocoa processing plant in an adjacent portion of the park. Coca Cola has also committed to building a plant here. Meinstein says those companies’ decisions came after Equilibrium’s. “But the fact that two first-class companies chose this area certainly increased our comfort with the location for spec development,” he adds.

The site is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which offers tax abatements to tenants on most local, county and state taxes until 2010. Can Do plans to develop Humboldt Station, a mixed-use project to include hotels, restaurants and service retail, in the eastern portion of the park although no timeline has yet been established.

Equilibrium expects completion of site work and shell construction by early second quarter 2007. It will be one of few concrete tilt-up facilities in the Humboldt park, “which we consider an improved building by comparison,” Meinstein says. “We don’t have a commitment for additional projects here, but we do have interest.” The targeted rent is $4.35 per sf.

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