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H.C. Gabler agrees to buy rail frontage at Letterkenny

December 06, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A conditional sales agreement announced Monday brought the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority $432,000 closer to its goal of almost $1.8 million in real estate sales for the current budget year.

The agreement with H.C. Gabler Inc., a Chambersburg transportation firm, is for parcels totaling 9.6 acres at the intersection of California and Oregon avenues at Letterkenny Army Depot, according to Authority Executive Director John Van Horn. The paved parcels include a rail siding, according to the agreement.

H.C. Gabler in June bought Building 19 on Michigan Avenue for $675,000 for a warehousing and distribution center. The company also leased a nearby 5.8-acre lot for equipment storage.

Company President Tom Gabler said Monday that access to the rail siding was the primary reason for buying the land. He said the company provides transportation services to the food industry, among others.

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In June a company representative said the Building 19 site would employ 10 to 15 people, mostly drivers earning $40,000 or more a year. Gabler said operations at Building 19 should begin early next year.

"We think that facility is going to take off," Gabler said of the business park. He said his company's operations there will serve both existing customers and those that locate at the depot.

H.C. Gabler also has terminals in Chambersburg, Mechanicsburg, Pa., and Winchester, Va.

The Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority, which is developing the park, will eventually take possession of approximately 1,500 acres at Letterkenny Army Depot as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision in 1995 to downsize the base. The authority already has sold or leased much of the 234 acres the Army turned over last year.

The budget year for the authority began Oct. 1, and Van Horn said this is the second sale, following the purchase of a $300,000 building by a clothing manufacturer.

In the 1998-99 budget year, revenues were almost $3.3 million, more than $3 million of that from sales and leases, Van Horn told the board of directors Monday.

The authority carried over $2.7 million that will be reinvested into development of the business park. It expects to generate another $3.3 million from sales, leases and utility revenues this year, for a total of $6 million. Balanced against $1.4 million in capital improvements and operating expenses, the authority expects to carry over $4.6 million to 2000-2001.

Major capital improvements this year include a water tank, water mains and improvements to Coffey Avenue, according to Van Horn. Road upgrades and extension of sewer service to undeveloped land are planned for 2001-2002, followed by other utility and road improvements the next two years.

In 2001-2002, sales revenue projections drop to $177,000, but lease revenues jump to almost $2 million. Van Horn's report made no sales projections for 2002-2003 but estimated lease revenues at almost $2.6 million.

He said that number could change because the Army has not decided when the rest of the land will be turned over to the authority due to ongoing environmental cleanups efforts. Van Horn said the authority will be able to lease some properties before the Army relinquishes the deeds.

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