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Printer to fill next to last warehouse at Letterkenny

March 08, 2000|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority on Monday approved a lease purchase agreement with a Greencastle, Pa., printing company for one of two remaining 90,000-square-foot warehouses at Cumberland Valley Business Park.

Graphics Universal Inc. owner Gary Gembe said Tuesday the warehouse will be used as a printing and copy center and to store and ship products to customers as needed. He said the site could employ seven to 10 people in the near future.

The company, which Gary and Nancy Gembe have owned since the 1970s, employs about 60 people at its plant on Commerce Avenue in Greencastle, Pa. Graphics Universal produces a wide range of printed materials including pamphlets, brochures, manuals, calendars and labels.

The warehouse is one of 23 identical structures built during World War II that have proved popular with companies looking to locate on the portion of Letterkenny Army Depot that is being developed for civilian use. Authority Executive Director John Van Horn said only one of the buildings has not been sold, leased or otherwise earmarked for use by private businesses.

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The warehouse, Building 5, is on land still owned by the Army but designated to be transferred at a later date, Van Horn said. The authority leases the property from the Army and will sublease the warehouse to Graphics Universal.

All lease payments by the printing company will be applied to the $300,000 sale price once the Army transfers the property, Van Horn said.

A Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision in 1995 to downsize the depot resulted in 1,500 acres of land and buildings being declared excess property that eventually will be transferred to the authority for lease or sale. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners created the authority to manage the development.

Two years ago the Army transferred more than 200 acres to the authority, but environmental clearances due to contaminated soil are among the holdups on other transfers. At Monday's board meeting Van Horn said parcels totaling 444 acres are awaiting approval from the Army for "depth-limited transfers."

Once those properties have been transferred to the authority, they will be available for sale to companies up to a certain depth below the surface, Van Horn said. That would allow for construction of foundations, but not the drilling of wells or anything deep enough to hit the water table, contaminated by half a century of industrial processes carried on at the depot.

Van Horn said existing buildings on those parcels are available for lease through the authority.

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