FALLS TOWNSHIP >> The transfer of 1,846 acres from U.S. Steel to NorthPoint Development helped kickstart a long-awaited regional wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
As part of the land transfer at the newly named Keystone Trade Center in Falls Township, NorthPoint designated the Morrisville Municipal Authority as the provider of all water and sewer-related utilities serving the expansive property.
“It was absolutely critical to NorthPoint’s ability to purchase and develop this property to have a wet utility operator,” said Morrisville Municipal Authority Executive Director John J. Warenda Jr. “That made our interest in purchasing property at the site for a sewage treatment plant fortuitous.”
As part of the NorthPoint-U.S. Steel real estate closing, which occurred in late December, MMA now owns and manages the water and sewer mains, including most pump stations and related equipment which comprise the four key wet utility functions: delivery of potable water, delivery of raw service water, treatment of sanitary sewer and treatment of industrial wastewater.
Neither NorthPoint nor U.S. Steel, which had previously owned and operated onsite water and sewer facilities, were interested in doing so.
Along with the water and sewer utility transfer, MMA has an agreement of sale for 54 acres along the riverfront at the Keystone Trade Center. Warenda expects the land to formally transfer to the Authority later this spring. Within the next three to five years, a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility will be built on the 54-acre parcel, replacing the Authority’s existing 60-year-old plant.
Since 2015, MMA has been meeting with municipal partners in Lower Makefield, Yardley, Falls Township and Morrisville to plan and design a new wastewater treatment facility. The Authority serves approximately 40,000 customers in these communities.
Given the limited, 13-acre space where the existing facility is situated in Morrisville, MMA had been contemplating building anew on a portion of the former U.S. Steel site. With the 54 acres that have been earmarked, Warenda said the proposed 10 million gallon a day facility is expected to accommodate the region and its anticipated growth for the next 20 to 40 years.
NorthPoint plans to construct 10 million square feet of warehouse space for companies like GM, Amazon, Chewy, Walmart, UPS, FedEx and more. An estimated $40 million would be spent on remediation efforts as part of the $1.5 billion redevelopment. Once built out, the developer has said the project would create between 5,000 to 10,000 new permanent jobs. MMA would service all the future growth at the Keystone Trade Center, as well as its existing customer base.
The far-reaching economic impact of the large-scale redevelopment makes a total capital funding package easier to assemble.
“This will not adversely impact any of our other parties,” Warenda stressed. “The benefit is we might now qualify for even greater grant funding because of the redevelopment component.”