Griffin pitches flex buildings
Griffin Land is a Connecticut-based land development company that has recently expanded into the Lehigh Valley, both in Upper Macungie and Bethlehem townships. Its eyes are now fixed on a 49-acre site along the north side of Jaindl Boulevard in Hanover Township. On Aug. 28, Griffin representatives unveiled plans for two flexible use buildings that will be located directly across the street from a Traditions of America residential community.
Michael Gamzon, Griffin's president and chief operating officer, told supervisors his company is seeking a larger presence in the Lehigh Valley. Keystone Engineering's Kevin Horvath reviewed details of plans for two flex buildings, a permitted use in the planned industrial business district.
Horvath noted that the visual impact of these buildings will be minimal to residential neighbors. This is primarily because the land slopes downward from Jaindl Boulevard, which will make the buildings difficult to see. He added that truck bays and loading docks would be located along the rear of these buildings, which would reduce the noise from truck traffic.
But Griffin's plans will require relief, both from supervisors and the zoning hearing board. A developer's agreement with David Jaindl limits the size of these buildings to 150,000 square feet, with a maximum length of 700 feet. But the two buildings proposed are 273,000 square feet and 260,000 square feet, with lengths of 1,000 feet. In addition, plans to locate all doors at the rear of the building will violate the township's zoning ordinance, which limits the amount of door space to 30 percent of the width of a building.
Township Manager Jay Finnigan told supervisors that the plans originally called for four 150,000-square-foot buildings. Though the two buildings proposed are larger than permitted, it will reduce the amount of impervious coverage to just 52 percent. That's well below the 70 percent permitted under the township's zoning ordinance.
Gamzon added that if his company decided to put doors on the front and rear of the buildings, they would be allowed to install 89 doors instead of the 70 being planned along the rear of each building.
Because these are flex buildings, built to spec for a tenant, it is unlikely that every door will be installed.
Supervisors Chairman John Diacogiannis wanted to know how many jobs will be produced. Gamzon responded that he would not be able to answer that until he finds tenants. He pointed to similar buildings on Fritch Drive in Bethlehem Township, which will employ about 200 people per building.
Supervisor Steve Salvesen was concerned about the noise generated by truck traffic, especially in a 24-hour operation.
"I live a considerable distance from Route 22, and I can hear every truck that downgears," he said. Salvesen was told that only 10 percent of Griffin's tenants are 24-hour operations.
Griffin's plans will move to the zoning hearing board for consideration on Sept. 27.