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CAN DO: More Demand for Manufacturing in Hazleton


Hazleton, PA - There is more of a demand for manufacturing and industrial buildings than there is for land in the Hazleton area, according to CAN DO Inc.


Officials of the area’s industrial and economic development organization also said they get most of their leads on prospective new employers from industrial real estate brokers.

“Our manufacturing continues to grow. Over 50 percent of our contacts that we are receiving are manufacturing-related. I want to make sure to dispel the notion we are creating only warehouse and distribution jobs. We are taking in a lot of different activity related to manufacturing.” - CAN DO Vice President, Joe Lettiere

Two of the manufacturing prospects are potential medical marijuana grower-processors that have applied for state licenses, Lettiere said. Each has signed a sales agreement for their land, CAN DO attorneys Peter Fagan and Rob Sensky said. Both parcels are in Humboldt Industrial Park.


Penn’s Northeast, the regional marketing arm for organizations like CAN DO, is bringing in more leads on new business and industry. Lettiere is currently chairman of the board of Penn’s Northeast.

“Sources of contact is another thing that is important for us to know, so we can direct our marketing efforts. The brokerage community continues to be very important to us. Penn’s Northeast continues to grow in the amount of contacts and leads they send our way. You can see Penn’s Northeast is functioning as intended right now. Their contribution to our organization is increasing.” - CAN DO Vice President, Joe Lettiere

CAN DO, like other similar organizations, converts about 10 percent of those prospects and contacts into projects, which is what other areas do, Lettiere said. “We have a conversion rate that we track,” he said. “It is typically relatively low, perhaps 10 percent. Some years have been 14 (percent) to 15 percent, some below 10. But we are on par with our peers.”


Lettiere said prospects prefer existing buildings over land they can build on.


“We continue to receive more inquiries related to buildings,” Lettiere said. “That is a phenomenon I do not see changing. It is very difficult to go for land approvals and meet the time lines. More companies are looking for available buildings.”


But with less than 3 percent vacancy now in existing buildings, CAN DO also has to try to attract private developers to put up buildings, and to have land ready to build. “We have a developer who has considered building on spec(ulation) within our market and we are trying to cultivate that,” Lettiere said. “Land with buildings is the challenge. That’s why we have made an effort within the strategic plan to try to go back to the developers that have made investments in the community, to see if we can do some things to entice their investment again. We’ve been talking with them about building on spec. Looking forward, we are trying to put some investors in place to move that along. We do need to cultivate that more, and we are doing that.”


In lieu of private developers, CAN DO has built about a half-dozen speculative buildings during its 60-year history.


“We’re always the developer of last resort,” Lettiere said, adding that CAN DO President Kevin O’Donnell and the officers have talked about building on spec.

“We are certainly not there yet. But if we are unable to entice a developer to create that kind of speculative building and create that kind of market, CAN DO would certainly consider it,” Lettiere said.


Dino, Jim “CAN DO sees more demand for manufacturing”. April 5, 2017, 

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