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Burle plans upgrade

The rear portion of Burle Business Park in Lancaster reflects the park’s industrial past. A set of hulking cooling towers dominates the scene, and manufacturing buildings are scattered about.

The rear portion of Burle Business Park in Lancaster reflects the park’s industrial past. A set of hulking cooling towers dominates the scene, and manufacturing buildings are scattered about.

But a transformation is set to begin soon.

Within a couple of years, the space is expected to reflect Burle’s present and future as a modern office and technology center. The park, along New Holland Avenue, plans a significant upgrade project that will give parts of the facility a new look and increase the leaseable space there.

The expansion is the latest step in the rebirth of the decades-old park, which is probably best known as the place once used by RCA as a research and manufacturing site for televisions and related products. Just a few years ago, about half of the 1.3-million-square-foot complex was empty. Now, the park is 90 percent occupied.

“I had acres of space,” said Althea Ramsay, who has led real-estate-leasing efforts at Burle for four years. “I think that, when they hired me, if they would have asked me if I could lease this much space in 10 years, I would have said no.”

The project calls for a redesign of an area at Burle that faces its back entrance along Walnut Street. More green space will be added, and parking will reconfigured so it is more accessible to the park’s buildings.

Another component of the project will be the construction of a small building that will provide better access to about 40,000 square feet of space at the park. The space has been unleaseable because it only has one stairwell and isn’t accessible for people with disabilities, Ramsay said.

“It will make the space much more user friendly,” she said.

Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2009, if not earlier. Costs have not been finalized yet, but the park expects the project to be a multimillion-dollar effort, Ramsay said.

The park has seen a boom in new tenants over the past couple of years, especially since French multimedia giant Thomson said in late 2005 that it would vacate about 100,000 square feet of space the next year. Major tenants include Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union and Lancaster General health system.

Lancaster General moved its finance and information-services departments to Burle this summer. The health system also is leasing more than 1,000 parking spaces at the park to accommodate employees while it builds a parking garage near its hospital downtown.

Burle was able to offer Lancaster General enough space so it could consolidate many of its administrative services under one roof, said John Lines, health-system spokesman. That’s important because it encourages more communication and cooperation among employees, he said.

“When you’re spread out, people can easily get disjointed and disconnected,” he said. “This connects everyone.”

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