NorthPoint Opens Former US Steel Falls Site
At its height, Fairless Works employed some 7,000 workers and was one of the largest steelworks in the world.
In 2001, US Steel closed the legendary factory in Falls Township, leaving only hundreds of workers for the next decade and stunting economic growth.
For years there have been plans to reclaim those golden days, but with each hopeful project that failed to materialize, the skeptics grew. Could Fairless Works and the 1,800 acres it sits on in Lower Bucks County be remediated and redeveloped?
The response was an enthusiastic yes on Thursday as the No. 1 industrial developer in the United States broke ground on the property along the Delaware River, ushering in a future that promises millions of square feet of warehouse and light industrial and thousands of jobs to support these operations,
The new name Keystone Shopping Center could become one of the biggest of its kind over the next decade.
Kansas City, Missouri-based developer NorthPoint plans to build at least 20 state-of-the-art industrial warehouses totaling 10 million square feet. Officials said the project has a potential of 15 million square feet, making it the largest “Class A industrial development on the East Coast,” said Jeremy Michael, NorthPoint’s vice president of development.
Michael has previously said he hopes to have the first tenant occupying a space by the end of the year. NorthPoint expects the entire development to be completed within five to seven years, said project manager Eric Yovanovich.
In 2020, NorthPoint unveiled plans to invest more than $1 billion in site remediation and redevelopment to make way for proposed warehouses and logistics-centric industrial buildings. Northpoint confirmed earlier this month that it would invest $1.5 billion in transformation and around $40-45 million in remediation.
“Capital goes where capital is welcome,” Michael said, adding that NorthPoint of the “Show Me” state was able to show initially skeptical Bucks and Falls County officials what they could do. , and found “tremendous support”. along the way.
The development, which is ideal for its location near major highways and e-commerce hubs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware, is expected to create between 5,000 and 10,000 new light industrial jobs a once completed.
Several officials from Falls and the Pennsbury School District, as well as County Commissioner Chairman Bob Harvie, State Senator Steve Santarsiero, D-10, and State Representatives Frank Farry, R-142, and John Galloway, D-140, spoke at the inauguration Thursday.
Harvie, a former teacher, gave a lesson in the site’s history, saying it was once “good soil watered by the Delaware” and the farmland supported many people. When it was operated by US Steel as one of the largest steel mills in the world, it once again fed many families, and now it will do so for the third time, he said.
“This location will help feed thousands and thousands of families… Success here will be success for the entire county,” Harvie said, wishing the developers the best.
Fairless Works opened in 1952 just as the first homes in nearby Levittown were ready for families. In the 1970s, the acres housed not only the steel mill, but also a chemical plant and other ancillary businesses.
Galloway said he remembers his brothers and other community members working at the old US Steel plant. When “those jobs left, it was difficult”.
He said there had been several failed attempts to revive the site over the past decade, so when NorthPoint came up with such a massive undertaking he was skeptical, but they kept coming back to meetings. of township as the plans progressed.
“Thank you for believing in the people of Lower Bucks County,” he said.
Santarsiero recalled legislative work to re-create Keystone Opportunity Zone status for the complex.
All of the property’s tax authorities, including Bucks County, Falls, and the Pennsbury School District, had to approve a tax abatement plan, which they did in 2020. The company will provide funds to the school district of Pennsbury to make up for the abatement, said Santarsiero and TR Kannan, chairman of the Pennsbury School Board.
Despite the cool, windy day, the sun was still shining on the project, Santarsiero said. “It’s going to give a huge boost to the regional economy.”
“Our vision,” NorthPoint chief strategy officer Jed Momot previously told the Falls Planning Commission, “is to create a Class A industrial park and completely redevelop what exists today.”
In early 2021, NorthPoint completed the purchase of the site from US Steel for $160 million. Falls Supervisors president Jeff Dence said he’s looking forward to seeing the redevelopment take shape now that the purchase has been settled.
The first of the warehouses is on 100 acres located on the east side of River Road, south of Biles Creek on the east side of the development.
Michael said he plans to break ground on the buildings for phase two this year, with completion in 2023. Overall development is expected to continue for another five or six years.
On Monday, a lawyer for NorthPoint Development told Falls Township supervisors that the developer was “excited” to move construction forward and soon to “fill the tenant stock.”
Supervisors approved an amended final development plan that allowed NorthPoint to consolidate buildings one and two from the first phase of the project into a 1.15 million+ square foot storage building, as well as a a 10,205-square-foot vehicle maintenance garage and a 1,219-square-foot salt storage building, officials said.
In addition to amending the amended final development plan, the governing body also approved a minor 14-acre subdivision at 150 Roebling Road, although no development is yet proposed for this parcel.
“NorthPoint Development’s purchase and reuse of the U.S. Steel property will put the Township of Falls on the map as a hub for one of the largest e-commerce hubs on the East Coast,” Dence told the ‘era. “This project will lead to major economic development in our region. At a minimum, NorthPoint will create 5,000 new, clean jobs for our community, with the potential for up to 10,000 new jobs.
The Keystone Trade Center is one of many projects developed by NorthPoint, which states that since 2012 it has raised more than $9.5 billion in capital, developed and managed more than 126 million square feet of industrial space, created over 65,000 jobs and supported over 423 industry partners across the United States.
Learn more about the Keystone projectFalls OKs construction of 1 million square foot warehouse as part of former US Steel redevelopment