BURLE Business Park in Lancaster, PA is a multi tenant adaptive reuse Commercial and Industrial Business Park. Originally the central building at the facility was opened in 1942 as a U.S. Navy plant for the production of submarine radar detection equipment. Following WWII the property was purchased by Radio Corporation of America (RCA) for the manufacture of radio and microwave tubes. With the invention of the television picture tube, and the subsequent color picture tube, demand for television sets exploded. Literally millions of color television picture tubes were manufactured and distributed from this facility to the rest of the world.
Over the years the Park grew and changed. Many additional buildings were added to the site from the late 1940’s though 1965 using state-of-the-art modern construction principals and innovative building concepts. For many years over 6000 people worked at this facility, spanning three shifts. There were also special amenities like a putting green, a softball diamond and even a helipad for quick trips to and from RCA’s new location, New York City’s Rockefeller Center. In 1986 RCA was sold to General Electric Corporation. Among other upgrades, General Electric refitted the facility with over $1 Million dollars of all new high voltage redundant electrical services.
In 1987 a partnership made up of a group of employees from RCA’s New Products Division, which was headed by Dr. Erich Burlefinger, purchased the property from General Electric. In doing so they became landlord to three of the major technology companies of that time, which acquired portions of the RCA operations. Thomson Consumer Electronics, Phillips and Burle Industries Inc. were the three major technology players at that time and initially those three companies utilized most of the space in the facility. As space became available it was leased out to other companies.
Over the years many different types of businesses have found the diverse and highly functional buildings ideal for their purposes. About 35 companies now fill 92% of the facility which has experienced adaptive reuse and retrofit of over 500,000 square feet in the last 5 years. Over 1700 people now come to work or school at the site on first shift. Round the clock production operations and innovative technology uses are still present at the facility. Burle Business Park, LP celebrated 25 years of ownership in 2012.
Features and Amenities
BURLE Business Park is an active and well populated multipurpose business and industrial facility with over 35 tenants. Companies of all types are engaged in operations ranging from professional office and education to manufacturing, production, distribution and technology. A unique feature of the site is the 24 hour live security presence combined with state of the art camera surveillance. Burle Park’s electricians and mechanical staff are present at the facility 24 hours/365 days a year for any maintenance service needs. The park also employs full service IT and phone support staff.
Amenities include a staffed cafeteria serving hot breakfast and a full luncheon menu, a fireside coffee café, a free all-tenant conference room complete with a widescreen HD TV for presentations. Free wireless internet is provided in all of these areas. There are vending areas for round-the-clock access to beverages and food. Catering is available to all areas of the facility in coordination with the on-site food provider, Distinctive Affairs Catering. An indoor walking and fitness path is provided for the use of all tenants. Two large garden courtyards with umbrella tables and benches are enjoyed spring through fall with the free use of a barbeque grill available upon request. Tenants may use these areas for parties and company events at no cost.
The possibilities for creating a one-site location made up of very different elements of a business operation are possible, and often very easy to customize in one footprint of space. There are areas with total climate control capability, including humidity control and heavy power. There are very practical and utilitarian production spaces with high ceilings and heavy floor load capability for racking heavy objects. Warehouse space is plentiful with many loading docks and doors providing easy access. Restrooms, maintained by the Park staff are plentiful and within close proximity to all tenant occupied locations. An extensive recycling program for metals, batteries, mixed waste, cardboard, glass and aluminium touches nearly every part of plant operations. Being responsible stewards of the earth has long been part of the history of the facility as a center for innovative reuse of all possible materials.
Aside from location, the best quality about the Burle Business Park is the ability to adapt existing space to the specialized and individual needs of a tenant. The solid building construction allows for complete customization without sacrificing high structural quality. Consolidation of multipurpose uses in a functional environment is a specialty and one which has materialized in the complete redevelopment and repurposing of over 450,000 square feet of space in the last 5 years. Plentiful, free parking for tenants and a commitment to the total maintenance and comfort needs of their staff round out the best features and amenities of the BURLE Business Park.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Burle Business Park facility is a popular destination for business visitors and prospects for leasing space. We average more than 100 (always escorted) tours each year. Following here are the most frequently asked questions:
How big and how old is the Park? 1.3 million square feet under roof on one 75 acre parcel. The center building and 5 others were opened in 1942 by the US Navy. The next owner, RCA, added additional buildings through 1965. Enlarged aerial views, taken through the years are displayed in the Building 2 hallway.
How many tenants are there? Over 35, not counting tenants who may be here very short term, for a special use, who may be only periodic parking lot tenants, or special event users. 1,700+/- people come to work or school on first shift each weekday. Second and Third shift operations are much lower in terms of population, but the Park has workers here for several companies around the clock on all three ‘shifts’.
What kinds of businesses are here? ‘Office’ space takes up the majority of the facility today. The term office covers the gamut of traditional work spaces, educational space for classrooms, conference centers, lecture halls, tech uses that are computer based or non laboratory as well as workshop and shipping offices which support manufacturing or distribution. 30% of the facility is manufacturing space, warehouse and distribution. The smallest group, but highly significant, are the technology tenants which keep the facility true to its roots.
How many people work for the Park/operate the facility? There are 20 employees working for Burle Business Park, LP in the areas of electrical, mechanical (plumbing, HVAC), technical IT/Phone/Data, maintenance and janitorial, real estate leasing and tenant management. Park staff is on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Why the security?There is work done and products manufactured in the Park which require a certain level of security by their end customer. Pre-September 11 the security element was a big deterrent for tenants. Many prospects did not like the idea of having to enter the center areas of the Park through gates or guards. Post-September 11, security is paramount on the minds of business owners and human resource managers. Some tenants have actually chosen the facility because we offer the security features. They are a key element of the facility to many of the tenants today. All inside and outside camera technology was fully upgraded recently using state of the art technology that was originally invented here at this property. Cameras are inside and outside of the facility for security.
What is planned for the future at the Park? As of Summer 2012 there is construction going on for the expansion of Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences. A new simulation lab and executive offices for the college will be here in addition to the lecture hall and teacher’s offices. A new common area, “The Lipstick Lounge” is being built to celebrate the changing demographic of more ladies than ever before making up the population. There will be areas for dining, group meetings, study projects, games, TV, reading, informal conversation, parties, surfing the web and the general multitasking that the working woman does every day in a colorful and fun environment. Of course the men who work at the facility will be welcome as well! A new private all-tenant gym is planned for late 2012/early 2013 with both ladies and men’s locker rooms and showers as well as space for yoga/zumba/aerobics/dance classes and a personal training area, fitness machines and a weight-lifting area. An Aquatic Facility is being designed for the outparcel closest to Pleasure Road. Many tenants are moving and expanding inside the Park into new or different areas in 2012.
Is the site a ‘Brownfield’s’ or ‘Superfund’ site?No, although that is a commonly held misconception. Actually the facility and the site are clean and have all clear PA- Act II Certification reports.