Mid Penn receives approvals for bank merger, extends into central NJ

Harrisburg-based Mid Penn Bancorp Inc. and New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Brunswick Bancorp announced Tuesday that they have received necessary approvals from the applicable regulatory agencies to complete the proposed merger of Brunswick with and into Mid Penn.

Shareholders from Mid Penn and Brunswick approved the transaction at a special meeting held April 25. Mid Penn signed an agreement to acquire Brunswick Bancorp late last year for $53.9 million.

The merger will extend Mid Penn’s footprint into new markets and expand its presence into central New Jersey. Mid Penn, on a pro forma basis following completion of the merger, is expected to have approximately $5 billion in assets. The deal is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2023.

Mid Penn President and CEO Rory G. Ritrievi said in a release, “We are pleased to have timely received all regulatory and shareholder approvals required in order to consummate our acquisition of Brunswick Bancorp, a transaction that supports our growth objectives, complements our franchise, and propels long-term shareholder value. The level of support for this transaction was tremendous. Of the total number of votes received, over 99% of Brunswick shares voted in favor of the merger and more than 97% of Mid Penn shares also voted in favor of the merger.”

Mid Penn Bancorp Inc. is the parent company of Mid Penn Bank, a full-service commercial bank, and MPB Financial Services LLC, a provider of specialized investment strategies, insurance and planning services to individuals, families and businesses. Mid Penn operates retail locations in 17 counties in Pennsylvania.

Brunswick Bancorp is the holding company for Brunswick Bank & Trust Co., a New Jersey chartered commercial bank that serves central New Jersey through its New Brunswick main office and four additional branch offices.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Shapiro announces partnership with NJ to protect worker’s rights

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro recently announced a partnership with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to protect worker’s rights and strengthen labor law enforcement in their two states. 

Shapiro and Murphy visited the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 training facility in Philadelphia last Thursday to announce their intention to form an interstate task force to address wage theft and worker misclassification in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

The task force will look to improve the collaborative enforcement of the two state’s labor laws and enable business competition. 

“We need to give students like those here at FTI the opportunity to chart their own course in life. That’s why my budget includes comprehensive investments in career and technical education and apprenticeships,” Shapiro said. “But our work can’t stop at increasing opportunity – we also need to protect workers’ rights once they’re on the job. 

“I’m proud to join Governor Murphy to announce that Pennsylvania and New Jersey will strengthen our partnership to stop wage theft and worker misclassification. Pennsylvanians and New Jerseyans work hard, and we will not let them be cheated out of the benefits they’ve earned.” 

To facilitate data sharing, joint investigations, and cooperative referrals, Pennsylvania and New Jersey entered a regional Memorandum of Understanding agreement in 2019. The new commitment to a continued partnership between the two states seeks to further bolster those efforts and maintain a continuing focus on worker protections. 

Murphy said New Jersey’s partnership with Pennsylvania reaffirms the two state’s joint commitment to strengthen labor law enforcement.

“Every day hard-working New Jerseyans and Pennsylvanians deserve to live without fear that their employers are taking advantage of their rights,” said Murphy. “With the formation of an interstate task force, our message will be clear – workers’ rights are to be respected, defended, and upheld.” 

Senate, gubernatorial race ‘Fireside Chats’ highlight PA Chamber Dinner

(Top) Political commentators Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Chair, and Chris Christie, former New Jersey Governor, engaged in a point-counterpoint moderated by ABC 27 News Anchor Dennis Owens. (Bottom Left) Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Josh Shapiro. (Bottom Right) Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks with PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein. PHOTOS/PROVIDED
(Top) Political commentators Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Chair, and Chris Christie, former New Jersey Governor, engaged in a point-counterpoint moderated by ABC 27 News Anchor Dennis Owens. (Bottom Left) Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Josh Shapiro. (Bottom Right) Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz speaks with PA Chamber President and CEO Luke Bernstein. PHOTOS/PACHAMBER

Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial and senate races took center stage, literally, Monday night at the 38th Annual Pennsylvania Chamber Dinner, held at a packed and bipartisan Hershey Lodge.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz met with chamber president and CEO Luke Bernstein in separate “Fireside Chat”-style conversations of approximately 30 minutes each. The chamber invited Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in the hope of hosting debates, but Oz and Shapiro were the only two candidates to accept.

“We’re honored and excited to provide an opportunity for these two candidates to answer some of the pressing questions that are on Pennsylvanians’ minds as they prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday, November 8,” Bernstein said. “Informing the electorate is a critical aspect of a well-functioning democracy, and the Pennsylvania Chamber has long used our Dinner as a fair and open forum for candidates from both parties to present their vision for the future of the Commonwealth.”

Prior to Oz and Shapiro appearing onstage, political commentators Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Chair, and Chris Christie, former New Jersey Governor, engaged in a point-counterpoint moderated by ABC 27 News Anchor Dennis Owens. Brazile and Christie talked about the key role Pennsylvania plays in national politics and offered their thoughts on the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election.

Oz has based his candidacy in part on the claim that Fetterman, the Lt. Governor, is soft on crime. He returned to that theme Monday night in Hershey, telling his audience that Pennsylvania cities like Philadelphia have become unsafe and ridden with dangerous drugs, fentanyl among them.

With Fetterman absent from Monday’s debate, Oz said he would ask him, “Why does he seem to care more about the criminals than the innocent who are hurt?” Oz said Fetterman’s stance on crime in Pennsylvania’s communities has adversely affected law enforcement officials, signaling to them, Oz stated, “that they don’t really matter.”

Shapiro spoke with Bernstein about strengthening law enforcement, reducing taxes, and investing in Pennsylvania’s workforce. He described these initiatives as “hardly partisan” issues.

“I’m talking about hiring 2,000 more police officers across Pennsylvania, putting Vo-Tech into our high school classrooms so we can create a pipeline of workers for tomorrow, and making sure that we cut our business taxes and grow our economy,” Shapiro said. “These are hardly things that are partisan.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Brazile and Christie spoke to the importance of debates in a democracy and were critical of both Fetterman and Mastriano for not participating.

“Debates are very important because it’s an opportunity for us to exchange ideas, find out where the candidates stand, find out if there are some differences, perhaps some issues that they don’t agree on,” said Brazile. “But more importantly, I think it gives the voters and those who will be making the decisions on election day, the opportunity to get one last opportunity to see what the candidates are really made of.”

Christie agreed. “I think when the bright lights go on in a debate, one of two things happen. You either shine or you melt. It’s a really important thing… You see whether people are up to (the task) or not, and you have an opportunity to challenge them. And I think that both candidates who did not show up tonight made a mistake and a disservice to the people of the commonwealth.”

Harrisburg multifamily properties sell for $5.25 Million

213 Shell Street and 1300 Bigelow Court. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Two multifamily properties in Harrisburg totaling 59 units were sold recently for $5.25 million by the New Jersey-based Kislak Company, Inc.

The properties include 30 units at 1300 Bigelow Court and 29 units at 213 Shell Street. The properties are of prime location in Dauphin County, situated at less than a 5-minute drive from Routes 81 and 83 and 20 minutes from Harrisburg International Airport.

“Both properties were attractive investments due to the potential to renovate units and increase rents in a rental market that is experiencing explosive growth,” said Kislak senior vice president Matt Wolf, who handled the assignments and procured the purchasers.

The Bigelow Court property has 30 individually deeded townhouses with rents below market and a community building. Each spacious two-bedroom/two-bath unit contains a washer and dryer, central heat and air conditioning, and there is onsite parking and garages. Ten storage units on monthly leases are also included.

The two-story stone and brick building on Shell Street is a neighborhood location in the Progress/Colonial Park section minutes from downtown Harrisburg. The building contains 14 two-bedroom units, 13 one-bedroom units, and two additional units, some having balconies. A storage unit and onsite laundry facility are included. The property has access to a museum, a science and arts center, recreation park and natural conservation areas within a 9-mile radius. College and university institutions are within 4-to-15-miles. Three shopping centers are within walking distance at a mile and a half away.

“The purchaser is excited to expand his portfolio in the Harrisburg market,” Wolf said of the Shell Street transaction. “He plans to renovate units as they turn over and make improvements to the building’s exterior. With existing rents below market, the property is a value-add opportunity for the purchaser to renovate the units and increase rents.”

Based in Woodbridge in northern New Jersey, Kislak Company, Inc. is a commercial real estate brokerage firm. Wolf joined Kislak in 2017 after more than a decade in the commercial real estate industry in central and eastern Pennsylvania. In 2020 he sold more than 1,100 residential units valued at nearly $100 million to earn the company’s Jay I. Kislak Producer of the Year award. Wolf was promoted to senior vice president in 2022.

Survey shows businesses recovering from pandemic impact

Most business owners in the region are saying their business is nearly back to normal since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Provident Bank has released an economic outlook survey, which showed that 86% of business owners in Pennsylvania and New Jersey reporting to have fully recovered or expect to fully recover in 2022 from the economic impact of the pandemic.  

The survey covered the top challenges and predictions Pennsylvania and New Jersey businesses expect to face in 2022.  

A big challenge was the workforce, with 50% of respondents saying there are not enough applicants to fill open positions.  

Despite that challenge, however, more than 45% of companies plan to increase hiring in 2022.  

The survey also found that more than half ,51%), of the respondents said the majority of their staff will be working in the office over the next 12 months 

Approximately 57% of business owners have made cybersecurity a top priority for their organization and are well prepared in this area 

Provident Bank surveyed 381 C-level executives and business owners between the ages of 25 and 90. 

About 25% of respondents were in the technology industry and about 14% were in retail 




Downtown Harrisburg apartments sell for $12 million

Mulberry Station Apartment Homes in Harrisburg were sold for $12 million by New Jersey-based The Kislak Company. PHOTO PROVIDED

Woodbridge, New Jersey-based real estate agency The Kislak Company recently closed on the Mulberry Station Apartment Homes in downtown Harrisburg for over $12 million.

The 200 South Court Street property was purchased by an unnamed developer already operating a property in the city, according to Matt Wolf, vice president at the agency.

Matthew Wolf, vice president of The Kislak Company, and Rob Holland, the company’s president.

Wolf and Rob Holland, president of Kislak, sold the property.

“We received a tremendous amount of interest and offers given the lack of supply in the central Pennsylvania market,” said Wolf. “The purchaser is very excited to increase his presence in the Harrisburg market and this is an excellent opportunity for him to obtain a second local property.”

Mulberry Station Apartment Homes is made up of two buildings with 20 one-bedroom, 60 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom units. About half of the units had interior upgrades to their kitchens and bathrooms last year, the agency said.

The complex was originally built in 1987 and features keyed entry with intercom, private entrances and attached two-car garages.

Kislak operates in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.