The Missouri-based company that brought online pet-supply retailer Chewy.com to Hanover Township is seeking a third tax break for a 150-acre tract it wants to purchase in the township, officials say.
This company, NorthPoint Development, is wrapping up its first project on the 172-acre tract that houses Chewy.com and buildings that will be occupied by athletic apparel maker Adidas and Patagonia Inc., an environmentally conscious American company that sells outdoor clothing.
Construction is expected to start in several weeks on two of three buildings on 330 acres along Route 29 in Hanover Township and Nanticoke that NorthPoint is buying from the nonprofit Earth Conservancy, Brent Miles, NorthPoint’s economic development vice president, said Monday.
The third planned project tied to the latest tax break request would be on 150 acres in Hanover Township — about 60 owned by the Luzerne County Industrial Development Authority and the rest belonging to Earth Conservancy, officials said.
Miles said the third site would bring his company’s totals here to $275 million in private capital investment and 5.3 million square feet of new construction.
“I’ve always had faith in the logistics and workforce of this area, and we’ve received great support from local officials who have a vision and see the need for this capital investment and the jobs,” Miles said.
As in the first two projects, NorthPoint is seeking forgiveness on new construction only under the state’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program, commonly called LERTA, which is for tracts in deteriorated areas.
The owner must continue to pay taxes on the land, and Miles noted taxing bodies are not receiving any revenue from the land because Earth Conservancy and the county authority are tax-exempt.
Instead of a decade of full forgiveness on the new buildings, Miles said he is proposing a gradually increasing percentage payment in the final three years, mirroring the package approved for the 330-acre project.
His company plans to build three structures totaling 1.375 million square feet at the third site from 2020 through 2022.
Hanover Township Manager Sam Guesto said the proposed third project site runs from the rear of the Gerrity’s Supermarket on the Sans Souci Parkway along Dundee Road to South Main Street.
Township commissioners are set to vote on the break on Aug. 13.
The Hanover Area School Board’s vote is scheduled for tonight , and county council is expected to discuss the request at its Aug. 14 work session.
Guesto said he and other township officials are supportive of another project by NorthPoint because the company has fulfilled past promises and is investing its own funds to create jobs.
While the temporary sacrificing of tax revenue isn’t ideal, Guesto said the projects are boosting the future tax base and attracting workers who will support other local businesses. The township also receives revenue from building permits and fees, he noted.
“Our board is very cooperative toward any type of development and is always looking to be progressive,” Guesto said.
Earth Conservancy Executive Director Mike Dziak said the land involved in the latest project had been mine-scarred and was reclaimed several years ago by a private company that extracted culm residue for a cogeneration operation.
Critics have maintained tax-break programs unfairly give select properties a government-funded competitive advantage, while supporters argue much of the development here wouldn’t exist without tools to attract employers and developers who are offered incentives in other regions and states.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.