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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:06:20 18:41:55

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:06:20 18:43:15

Penn’s Northeast hosted the inaugural Northeastern Pennsylvania Real Estate Summit on Friday, June 8. The event was attended by nearly 200 business people, commercial realtors, developers, builders and site selectors who shared their outlook on current and future real estate trends locally and nationally.

Penn’s Northeast President/CEO John Augustine welcomed the crowd and served as moderator for the various panels.

The forum focused on commercial, industrial and office markets, including the growing medical sector as well as downtown development, housing, retail and office.

“The region’s nearest competitor is the Lehigh Valley, which is filling up, leaving Northeastern Pennsylvania as the next logical location,” Augustine said. “A lot of companies are leaving the New York-New Jersey metro area due to costs. And we have seen an increase in international inquiries as well.”

Driven by E-commerce and distribution, the region’s industrial/commercial real estate market has become incredibly robust, Augustine said, and it’s attracting tenants and developers from around the country and the world.

Penn’s Northeast is a membership based organization with a mission to enhance the region’s economy through new investments, job creation and increasing the amount of potential business opportunities for regional businesses through targeted business recruitment and unique lead generation activities. This is done in part by promoting the region’s assets to regional, national and international businesses. Focus is placed on the counties of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Schuylkill and Wayne, as well the greater Berwick area.

Penn’s Northeast was created through a joint effort of private business leaders, local utility companies, governments, economic development organizations and chambers of commerce to market the collective assets of Northeastern Pennsylvania and to facilitate the creation and retention of quality jobs. This is accomplished by providing site selection, labor and incentive financing assistance to businesses, real estate brokers, developers and site selection consultants.

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Regional facts and figures offered at the forum

■ The five-county region is home to nearly 900,000 residents.

■ Northeastern PA is within a 1 day drive of almost a third of the U.S. population and a half of the Canadian market.

■ The region’s population has been growing since 2000.

■ The region’s average unemployment rate is 5.6 percent, typically higher than Pennsylvania and the nation, but a large decrease since the recession of 2009-2011.

■ There are about 386,000 jobs in the five-county region. Two thirds of these are in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, with the remaining third located in Monroe, Schuylkill and Wayne.

■ The largest industry in the region is health care, employing more than 65,000 workers; followed by retail (more than 48,000 workers) and manufacturing (more than 42,000).

■ NEPA has 19 colleges and universities with more than 40,000 students.

■ Warehousing and storage industry specifically has been growing at a rate of almost 5 percent per year. Within the region that industry added almost 6,600 new jobs in the last decade.

■ Since 2000, more than 41 million square feet of industrial space has been leased.

■ In 2017, 5.4 million square feet of industrial leases were signed.

Photos courtesy of Rachel Antosh Hawk, Penn’s Northeast, Inc.