A major firearms manufacturer is interested in purchasing the long-dormant Pike County Business Park in Blooming Grove Township. Attorney John Stieh, representing Kahr Firearms Group, of Pearl River, NY, came before the Supervisors Monday night June 17th.
The number of jobs and revenue this is expected to generate in the region is expected to be "sigificant," according to company officials.
Kahr's plans include buying all 620 acres of the business park on Well Road (State Route 434), from the Pike County Industrial Park Development Group/ Business Development Corporation. Their first step in what is expected to be multiple phases is to begin site preparation and office construction as soon as late in 2013. Company corporate offices and the research and development department would then be relocated here.
In the second phase, manufacturing operations would be expanded and brought to the Pike County site to meet the increasing demand for Kahr firearms.
The Kahr Group of manufacturing plants, operating at full capacity, will continue production in their current locations. Kahr produces major lines of firearms, including Kahr Arms, Thompson, Auto-Ordnance and Magnum Research products.
Twenty to 30 jobs are expected in the first phase, Stieh said. The number of potential jobs the manufacturing phase could bring to Pike County has not been released.
Of the 620 acres, only 21 lots were available for development. Of these, Kahr is intending to make use of eight lots that had previously received approval by the Township for building. Most of the acreage would be left undeveloped for the foreseeable future, Stieh said.
A map of the business park shows eight contiguous parcels that are marked as ready for development, totaling 102.94 acres.
Initially, the company expects to construct building space totaling 40,000 square feet.
The Supervisors held a hearing June 17 to review covenants and restrictions in place on the land and to request amendments. Most of the requests were approved in favor of the potential buyer.
At the hearing, the Supervisors agreed to lifting restriction on retail sales. Stieh said his client may wish to open an outlet store there at some point. Other restrictions were lifted, including allowance of mini-storage and food services.
The current 150-foot setback will be maintained.
Stieh said the next step will be to submit a conditional use application. That is expected to go before the Township Planning Commission in July.
The Pike County Business Park, which was created in 1997, has never been developed.
A tertiary (sewer) treatment plant serves the park.
Favorable business climate
His client, he said, was attracted to Pike County for two reasons. One is the available of the business park and the cost to find good land of that size. The second reason is the favorable business climate found in Pike County.
Page 2 of 2 - Last month, Blooming Grove Township Supervisors adopted a temporary tax abatement program aimed at encouraging business development. Known as Local Economic Revitalization Assistance (LERTA), the state-approved program requires the municipality to first adopt it. The local school board and county may then follow suit and approve similar tax relief. The graduated tax abatement is on new construction and is limited to five years.
Stieh said that the program proved fortuitous for Kahr Firearms Group, and his client planned to take advantage of it. Kahr had already been in discussion about the purchase since late February or early March 2013.
Pete Helms, president of Davis R. Chant Realtors, is the broker. The closing has not yet been held.
A statement issued by the company adds, "We are grateful for the warm welcome and the business opportunity extended by the Pike County Industrial Park Development Group/ Business Development Corporation to expand our company and relocate its headquarters office," stated VP of Marketing, Frank Harris.
"The Pennsylvania group has demonstrated tremendous support of our operations and Kahr looks to move forward with the project without delay. It's good for our business and also for other businesses in the area as build a long-term mutually beneficial relationship with the community. We anticipate generating significant numbers of revenue and jobs for the local Northeastern Pennsylvania
economy with the construction of facilities, expansion of manufacturing, and need for local vendors."
Kahr Arms manufactures a variety of semi-automatic pistols and accessories.
Kahr Arms was founded on fifteen years of manufacturing service in precision metalworking industries. A stated on their web site, Kahr's parent company, established in 1981, has been a leading supplier of computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools and applications engineering.
In 1986, the company expanded by forming a manufacturing division which provides quality contract machining, manufacturing and assembly services for diverse industries, including aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical equipment, scientific instrumentation and telecommunications. This division offers in-house engineering and precision tooling services, as well as, secondary operations that complement the machining and manufacturing capabilities.
Kahr's corporate headquarters are located in Blauvelt, New York. Production and assembly operations are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the region commonly known as "Gun Valley."
A June 4th press release mentions their plans in the near future to expand their manufacturing operations outside of New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
A message has been left for Kathy Hummel, Chairperson of the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) for comment concerning the proposed purchase. The EDA markets the business park on their web site, www.edapikepa.org. The EDA lists the market price at $20,000 an acre for the Pike County Business Park.
For more information on Kahr Arms, visit online at www.kahr.com.