Moosic, Lackawanna County, PA -
Two new development projects just off the Davis Street exit of Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County are progressing, but one, construction of a half-million-square-foot warehouse in Moosic, might not happen for a few years.
Work has been underway, though, to clear land for a Peterbilt truck dealership at 2900 Stafford Ave. in Scranton, and construction should take place this year.
Scranton City Planner Don King said the planning commission conditionally approved Hunter Truck’s land development plan, but there still are some conditions that it must meet, such as sanitary services.
“They got a permit to do site work,” King said recently. He estimated the project probably would take about six to nine months. The land development plan was first submitted about a year ago. Hunter Realty Partners, LP, of Butler County, purchased 11 acres on Stafford Avenue from St. Stanislaus Polish National Catholic Church for $1.1 million, according to the deed recorded in April 2019.
Hunter Truck currently operates nine Peterbilt truck dealerships in Pennsylvania. The closest one is in Bartonsville, Monroe County. Attempts to reach Ralph Fischer, chief operating officer for Hunter Truck, were unsuccessful.
Peterbilt, based in Denton, Texas, and founded in 1939, manufactures on-highway, vocational and medium duty trucks.
Room for three tenants Construction of the 512,100-square foot warehouse at 820 Davis St. Moosic is a few years down the road, but it will contain enough space for three tenants, said Moosic Zoning Hearing Board solicitor Donald Frederickson.
“They’re not expected to start the project for two or three years,” Frederickson said. “They’re just doing the grading. The land development plan is pending before Moosic Planning Commission.”
The developer also must obtain a highway occupancy permit. The planning commission granted conditional approval for the project in February.
GMA Accessories Inc., of South Hackensack, New Jersey, is behind construction of the warehouse on a tract of 36.9 acres, the site of the former McKinney Products Co.
“They were granted a couple of variances,” Frederickson said. The zoning board granted a height variance, to build a warehouse higher than two stories, and a setback variance to allow for fewer parking spaces and more warehouse space, he said.
“The borough ordinance (regulating height) is two stories — 40 feet,” Fredrickson said.
According to zoning board documents and site plans that Frederickson provided, the board approved a height variance to 44 feet, 7 inches for a onestory structure. The board also granted a setback variance to allow lot coverage of 62.38 percent, above the 50 percent limit in the zoning ordinance. The zoning application notes the additional trailer storage and loading docks on the easterly side put the project over the 50% limit.
Frederickson said the developer wants to rent it to three different tenants, but none is currently lined up. Two of the tenant spaces measure 186,750 square feet each, while the third is 138,600 square feet, according to the building plans.
GMA Moosic LLC purchased the acreage from Davis 81 LLC and 81 Davis LLC for a total of $6.225 million, according to Times-Shamrock newspaper archives. Dunmore businessman Dominick DeNaples, brother of Dunmore businessman Loui DeNaples, is the sole member of both companies.
The McKinney Products Co. plant was a 200,000-square-foot facility that manufactured commercial door hinges. It opened in 1964. Manufacturing operations at the plant ended in 2007 when the work shifted to China, eliminating about 180 local jobs, according to the archives.
Davis 81 LLC purchased that property in early 2013, for $2 million from McKinney Products, according to newspaper records. The plant was demolished later that year.
Growth trend continues
John Augustine III, president and chief executive officer of Penn’s Northeast, a regional economic development agency, said the agency was not involved with either of the projects but has been marketing all of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“I knew about the DeNaples property,” Augustine said. “We had actually shown that piece to a couple of other buyers.” He said the projects continue a trend of growth in Northeastern Pennsylvania, especially along the northern part of Interstate 81 and particularly in Lackawanna County and the Casey Highway.
“What companies are doing is acquiring land close to exits of interstates,” Augustine said. He said companies are looking at 10 to 20-plus acres, some to build 1 million square- foot warehouses, though fewer companies can accommodate a 1 million-
“A million square feet could go on 21 football fields,” Augustine said. He said companies now are building smaller — 5,000 to 250,000 square feet — as more are building for that last mile of delivery, a trend brought on by an increase in online orders during the pandemic.
“There are a lot of properties out there,” he said. “Our job is to market the region. I’m glad the company found property. It shows an interest in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”