Commercial Real Estate Update

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20 Under 40: JenniferDessoye

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Dr. Jennifer Dessoye is assistant professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University and owner of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy (BBELA). Discontent with the early education curriculum and understanding of human development and neurolo (read more)

20 Under 40: Amy Hlavaty Belcher

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Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gift (read more)

20 Under 40: Christopher Hetro

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Chris Hetro, 33, works hard and plays hard. “A strong work ethic is important, but finding balance outside of work is important because life is too short and you need to enjoy it,” he explained. As an electrical engineer and project manager at Borton-Laws (read more)

20 Under 40: C. David Pedri

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For attorney C. David Pedri, 37, it’s all about a combination of qualities that contribute to success. “My philosophy is simple: be open and honest, treat people the way you would want to be treated, with respect, and work hard to attain your dreams. The (read more)

20 Under 40: Ed Frable

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Ed Frable, 28, believes “if I work hard and stick to my word, good things will happen. My crew will not be deterred. We will re-evaluate our game plan and not give up until the job is complete,” explained Frable, the owner/operator of Ed Frable Constructi (read more)

20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch. The fam (read more)

20 Under 40: Angelo Venditti

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Angelo Venditti, 38, heard a call to the helping professions early on. Geisinger Northeast’s chief nursing officer answer was to volunteer for his local fire company. After high school, he became a paramedic, then enrolled in nursing school. Three years a (read more)

20 Under 40: Donald Mammano

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At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton. Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fas (read more)

20 Under 40: William J. Fennie III

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William J. Fennie III, 27, is always knocking on the proverbial door, because he knows one day, one will open. As an investment specialist with Integrated Capital Management (iCM) he cannot take “no” for an answer. “I make cold calls every day to invite f (read more)

20 Under 40: Marcus Magyar

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As an advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marcus N. Magyar, CFP, 30, provides comprehensive wealth management and investment portfolio services to business owners, executives, families and high-net worth individuals. His multi-disciplinary team of pro (read more)

20 Under 40: Heather Davis

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Heather M. Davis, 33, director of marketing and communication, is responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing a strategic marketing and comprehensive communications plan for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). She is also responsible for pr (read more)

20 Under 40: Alexandria Duffney

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Alexandria Duffney, 30, is competitive by nature and loves a good challenge. These qualities have led her to her position as associate director of graduate admission at Wilkes University. Here she works with prospective students interested in enrolling in (read more)

20 Under 40: John Culkin

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John Culkin’s tenets inform: “Less haste equal more speed; the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, it is all about what you are made of, not the circumstances surrounding you; and don’t ask someone to walk a mile in your shoes, bef (read more)

20 Under 40: Conor O'Brien

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“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it,” mused Conor O’Brien.” As co-founder and executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, 25, is responsible for leading the development of the overal (read more)

20 Under 40: Jessica Siegfried

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Jessica Siegfried, 38, is senior designer with BlackOut Design Inc., where she is responsible for all creative design at the full-service agency, from traditional branding and print to collateral and front end web design. “I’ve always had an interest in t (read more)

20 Under 40: David Johns

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David Johns’ career path has been shaped by his diverse experiences. As director of structural engineering at Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Moosic, Johns, 39, ensures that his engineering and consultant teams provide clients with their best effort. “We complete (read more)

20 Under 40: Robyn Jones

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Robyn Jones, 38, president of ReferLocal LLC, has learned just as many lessons from her business successes as she’s had from her failures — and she believes it’s important to share that knowledge with her employees. After graduating from American Universi (read more)

20 Under 40: Nisha Arora

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Nisha Arora, 36, tries to be the best version of herself every day. As general counsel for ERA One Source Realty Inc., she realized she cannot control other’s behavior so “I try to focus on myself and how I can be better,” she explained. Arora’s responsib (read more)

20 Under 40: Justin Sandy

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Starting at a young age in Hazleton, Justin C. Sandy, 33, found a passion for running. He became a member then a coach for Misericordia University’s cross country and track and field programs. “It was at Misericordia that I also garnered the profound sati (read more)

20 Under 40: Dr. Ariane Conaboy

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As a doctor of internal medicine at Physicians Health Alliance, Dr. Ariane M. Conaboy, 34, realizes the importance of human life and how fragile it can be at times. Conaboy graduated from Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton with a double major in (read more)

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A series of evolving market conditions, movement of goods for e-commerce, and the mounting influence of the millennials are all shaping commercial real estate trends within NEPA.

An acceleration of “westward movement” has been recognized by John Cognetti, president of Hinerfeld Commercial Real Estate. According to Cognetti, this involves established firms in the metro areas of New York and New Jersey moving out due to astronomical real estate values, soaring operational costs and steep taxes.

These select companies are therefore buying “b-stock” locations with good price points in or near NEPA for relocation. Rail sidings are prized, plus decent ceiling heights, a clean environment, easy truck access, loading docks, natural gas service and ample parking.

“A lack of commercial property listings within NEPA for this relocation is now a reality, and we have been resorting to active recruitment of listings to meet demand,” said Cognetti. “As this relocation trend accelerates, we’re seeing options placed on various industrial properties.”

Prospective players in the medical marijuana market are jostling to get a piece of the action and evaluating how they can retro-fit older NEPA locations for their use. This activity is often suitable for older facilities, provided boundary lines, environmental conditions and data about prior use is all suitable.

“On virtually every sale of a commercial location the banks require an environmental assessment to be completed, so that is nothing new,” said Cognetti. “However, if boundary lines need to be surveyed, that can be expensive.”

Another economic development trend noted by Cognetti involves the expanding ways market data is collected, analyzed and loaded into computer systems as part of industrial forecasting. The efficiency gains made with these data systems virtually guarantee commercial companies will need to employ fewer people as productivity rises and production waste is reduced.

“So much disruption of labor through technology is occurring that radical changes are necessary in the number and types of employees that are needed,” said Cognetti. “This also influences the type of industrial sites that are needed.”


E-commerce power

Changing market conditions in the retail industry are directly influencing the NEPA commercial market, according to Jim Cummings, vice president of marketing with Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services. He has noted that, according to, 18 nationally known retailers recently announced plans to close, a total of 2,727 stores.

“These included big names such as JC Penney, Payless ShoeSource, Radio Shack, Macy’s, The Limited, Staples and Gander Mountain,” said Cummings.

Retail analysts agree the United States has been “overstored” for several years. However, the most powerful force causing the retail contraction is an explosion of e-commerce that now allows consumers to comparison shop, find the lowest price and place an order that is shipped to their doorstep in as little as 24 hours. 

According to Cummings, national retailers are therefore occupying millions of square feet of distribution space near interstates and major metro areas, and his firm often entertains square footage demands of 300,000 to perhaps one million to create fulfillment centers where e-commerce orders can be processed and products quickly shipped to consumers. These companies typically search the I-81 Corridor and I-78 Corridor from Harrisburg to the Lehigh Valley to northeastern Pennsylvania to find sites that meet their requirements for logistics, labor, taxes, operating costs and quick delivery.

“Northeastern Pennsylvania is benefitting from this activity with firms such as Boden USA,,, American Eagle Outfitters and others who have opened e-commerce fulfillment centers here,” said Cummings. “As e-commerce continues to grow across the country, we expect all of the communities along the I-81 Corridor to be in contention for new fulfillment centers.


Millennial power

The nation’s millennials, now entering the workforce in great numbers, are also a force commercial real estate players must contend with. Denise Luikart, associate principal and interior designer with Highland Associates, explained that specific demands for interior design still depend on individual client tastes and predictable demographics, but metro appetites are seeping into NEPA.

With millennial workers one of these trends is called bench-style desking, particularly when office space is expensive. Bench desks allow companies to accommodate more workers for each square foot, witch also make sense because the millennials as a group are usually not concerned with privacy or adhering to an assigned space.

An open office environment can therefore be installed for these youths. Limited availability of some private office spaces is still needed, such as the executive offices, but open bench desking and a quiet huddle room often is becoming the norm.

“The workers can then use the huddle room for quiet and privacy or to make phone calls,” says Luikart.

Stiff competition for skilled employees is also playing a role in office demands. In particular, larger companies are striving to land talent, and recognition of the need for a specific type of office environment has become part of the labor equation.

Even in health care, where facility dollars can be tight and regulation is active, managers have recognized the need to create a specific environment as care systems function within a free-market hospitality environment and must compete for customers. Inevitably patient satisfaction controls the flow of dollars through care, and the demands of the patients must be met to build repeat business.

“It’s also interesting how urban locations are making a comeback,” said Luikart. “The millennials want to live and work in the city, and this is breathing new life into a lot of urban real estate.”

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