The project to put 3 warehouses at the former headquarters of Air Products could be decided this week. Here’s what you need to know. – The morning call
A plan to set up three warehouses at the former Air Products headquarters site has drawn heavy criticism from Upper Macungie Township residents and Lehigh Valley officials.
Residents have entered township hearings, hoping to halt the project during the approval process. A recent post in the Upper Macungie Community Facebook group highlighting upcoming meetings notes that “public input could make a difference in what is developed.”
A major decision on the project is expected to be made this week.
What is Air Products Redevelopment?
Air Products and Chemicals, one of two Fortune 500 companies in Lehigh Valley, wants to demolish its old headquarters and replace it with three warehouses totaling more than 2.6 million square feet.
Logistics real estate company Prologis, which owns dozens of properties in the Lehigh Valley, would own the warehouses. It is unclear whether Prologis has selected tenants for the warehouses, said township manager Bob Ibach. Prologis was not available for immediate comment.
Where would the warehouses be?
The project would occupy approximately 61 acres of the 235-acre property at 7201 Hamilton Blvd. which Air Products left when its new headquarters was built in 2021 along Mill Creek Road, about a mile away.
The largest building would be 1.23 million square feet and would stand along the west side of the property. The second building would be 926,250 square feet and the smaller 435,600 square feet.
What are the objections to development?
The main concerns are the possible increase in traffic and accidents, and stormwater runoff affecting nearby properties, Ibach said.
Outside the township, a committee of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission blasted the plan – one member called it an “imminent disaster” – due to traffic issues and the removal of a solar panel farm on the site.
What about traffic?
The warehouses are expected to create more than 3,600 vehicle trips per day, according to a traffic impact study conducted by Pidcock Co. in late March. The study indicated that the peak traffic times for journeys following the redevelopment were 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pidcock is said to have examined 544 intersections within 3 miles of the proposed development, claiming to have found that the traffic impact of the new warehouses would be negligible on the area.
But the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission committee called the study “woefully inadequate” because it failed to account for several other “critical” intersections – the study did not include several busy intersections along the route 100, including that with Interstate 78, due to ongoing issues. construction site on the highway.
The committee asked the promoter to start over with a new traffic study.
What actions are developers taking to address concerns?
Air Products spokespersons said the company would add a section to Cetronia Road to mitigate road flooding, add ample parking, and create berms and a landscape screen to give nearby homeowners privacy.
The development should widen Hamilton Boulevard with curbs and sidewalks to meet township street requirements, according to the study.
What is the next step ?
The township’s zoning hearing board will meet on Wednesday, where it is expected to hold a vote to approve or deny the redevelopment, Ibach said. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Township Building, 8330 Schantz Road.
If the zoners reject the project, Air Products could appeal. If the areas approved the redevelopment, the project would begin the land-use planning process with the township planning commission before finally being submitted to the township supervisors for final approval.
No construction is expected to begin this summer, Ibach said. But if the project is approved, the warehouses could be operational by 2024, according to the Pidcock study.