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Penn’s Northeast: An Overview/Understanding of Regional Economic Development

04.29.2019


Penn’s Northeast (PNE) is Northeastern Pennsylvania’s regional nonprofit economic development organization, dedicated to attracting quality employers to our region.

 

Its roots go back to the early 1990’s, when volunteers from local economic development organizations throughout the region began working together as one unified voice to increase Northeastern Pennsylvania’s visibility to national and international site selectors, developers, and corporate decision makers.

 

They took the next step in 2002, when business and community leaders from six different counties signed an agreement founding a new organization – Penn’s Northeast – to collectively market the region and attract companies to Northeastern Pennsylvania. PNE was created to perform a specific set of responsibilities – collaborative external marketing and site selection assistance – on behalf of its member organizations.

 

Northeastern Pennsylvania is a large and varied region; consequently, the organization works hard to be responsive to its diversity of strengths, to its geography, and to its stakeholders. Today, Penn’s Northeast serves Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill, and Wayne Counties, as well as the community of Berwick in Columbia County.

 

Funded through annual contributions from its Founding Partners and through memberships held by private industry and investors, PNE maintains a staff of two: President/CEO John L. Augustine III, and Marketing Director Rachel Antosh Hawk.

 

PNE facilitates the creation and retention of quality jobs in our region by marketing Northeastern Pennsylvania to the world, and by providing site selection and incentive financing assistance to businesses, real estate brokers, developers, and site selection consultants.

 

It serves as a single regional point of contact for businesses looking to relocate to or expand within Northeastern Pennsylvania, functioning as a liaison between local development partners, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and businesses seeking new facilities.

 

 
PNE does this in the following ways...

Site Selection Services

PNE serves as a first point of contact for representatives of companies considering investments in the region, helping them to define their needs, identifying potential sites, providing them with demographic and salary information, connecting them with economic development groups and chambers of commerce in specific areas of interest, and coordinating site tours.

 

When PNE sells Northeastern Pennsylvania,
the story always begins with the region’s key assets:
  • Only a 2-hour drive from NYC and Philadelphia
  • Five major interstate highways running directly through NEPA
  • More than 1 million residents living in the region
  • 19 colleges and universities with 40,000 enrolled students
  • A skilled and reliable labor force
  • Lower utility and living costs
  • Amazing quality of life and year-round outdoor activities in a safe & family-friendly region

 


Lead Generation

PNE’s marketing activities are intended to generate leads from businesses that are actively seeking a new location for relocation or expansion purposes. For economic development organizations, the ability to turn a lead into a sale can mean a new multi-million-dollar project and hundreds of jobs for a community.

 

PNE works to increase both the number and quality of prospects for commercial investments in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Much of this work occurs in partnership with the Governor’s Action Team, a state economic development organization whose job is to recruit out-of-state companies to Pennsylvania, or from the Pennsylvania Office of International Business Development, whose job is to recruit foreign direct investment to the Commonwealth. Other opportunities originate from former clients, from the organization’s own prospecting efforts at trade shows, and through PNE’s award-winning advertising and marketing campaigns.

 

Companies such as Pepsico/Gatorade, Two Chefs on a Roll, Archer Daniels Midland, c3i, Johnson & Johnson, SECCAS, IRIS-USA, and many more are located in Northeastern Pennsylvania today because of the marketing and sales efforts of Penn’s Northeast and its economic development partners.

 


Requests for Information

PNE is routinely called upon to create and coordinate responses to Requests for Information (RFIs), which are are essentially requests asking a region to make a formal case regarding their ability to accommodate a business’s needs.

 

In 2017, PNE coordinated Northeastern Pennsylvania’s response to the Amazon HQ2 RFI. Amazon’s search for a second headquarters location – projected to be a $5 billion project resulting in the creation of 50,000 direct jobs – captivated North America to an extent unprecedented for a site selection project.

 

Amazon received 238 responses from cities and regions throughout the continent. Because of PNE, one of those was a submission from Northeastern Pennsylvania. While our region was not ultimately selected as one of the twenty finalists, this effort paid dividends that will continue well beyond HQ2. PNE continues to use the data assembled for the Amazon HQ2 project, repeatedly drawing upon it for subsequent proposals.

 

The Amazon HQ2 RFI was Northeastern Pennsylvania’s first truly regional RFI submission. However, thanks to PNE, it will not be the last.

 


Signature Events

PNE holds a variety of signature events designed to showcase Northeastern Pennsylvania and its assets to the site selection community and to potential businesses.

 

These events include Fall Fest and Winter Fest, which highlight specific outdoor amenities available within the PNE region; and Broker Events, which connect PNE members with real estate professionals working within the metropolitan areas that produce most of our leads.

 

In 2018, Penn’s Northeast introduced its newest annual event: the inaugural NEPA Real Estate Summit. It featured a group of expert panelists who discussed every aspect of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s commercial real estate sector – the commercial/industrial market, the office market, health care, and downtown redevelopment – in deep detail, allowing participants to come away with new insights about regional trends and opportunities.

 

More than 200 people are scheduled to attend our 2nd Annual Real Estate Summit which is being held on Wednesday, April 24 at 11:00 at the Hilton in Scranton and features a panel on the new federal opportunity zones.

 


Trade Shows and Conferences

PNE promotes the region at numerous real estate trade shows and specialty conferences. These events allow the organization to make new contacts, keep current on specific industry trends, and connect with industry practitioners on behalf of the region.

 


Real Estate Database

PNE created the region’s first comprehensive online real estate database. It provides prospects with available office and industrial sites and facilities from our partners as they come on the market. The database can be accessed by going to www.pennsnortheast.com.

 

Penn’s Northeast also uses this same information to populate the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s “SiteSearch” website with the same data. It can be accessed at www.pasitesearch.com.

 


Business and Industrial Park Maps

PNE maintains a business park map portfolio with detailed maps of 27 different business parks in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Schuylkill, Pike, and Wayne counties. These maps, which are regularly updated, highlight available land and buildings, existing businesses, infrastructure and available tax incentives. Versions of all maps are available at www.pennsnortheast.com.

 


All of these activities are undertaken in service of Penn’s Northeast’s mission: to bring quality employers to Northeastern Pennsylvania. The more businesses Penn’s Northeast brings, the more jobs will be created. The more jobs created, the stronger the economy will become. If the economy strengthens, Northeastern Pennsylvania will flourish.

 

And, in fact, Penn’s Northeast and its partners have helped to bring more than 12,000 jobs to its six-county service area since 2002.

 

For more information about us or to learn how to become a member, please visit us at www.pennsnortheast.com.


https://www.timesleader.com/news/local/741503/penns-northeast-an-overview-understanding-of-regional-economic-development



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