After more than a decade of stagnation, it is certainly welcome news that Great Stream Commons seems to finally have a potential anchor tenant.

JM Industrial Realty LLC paid $3.75 million for 166 acres of land previously tied to Target in the development park that runs parallel to Route 15 in northern Union County. Company president and CEO John Moran said he wasn’t quite ready to speak on the purchase, but expects to “release a statement within the next 30 days and that his plans are significant for the site.”

This news has been a long time coming. In 2006, county officials thought they had Target on the hook. In fact, the retail giant purchased the same 166 acres 13 years ago. Target eyed a distribution center at Great Stream Commons with the expectation that 800 jobs would accompany the structure. Plans fell apart during the recession of 2008.

Without the Target anchor, the majority of the property has gone unused. While the 166 acres purchased by Moran’s group represents about half of the industrial park, only one other business — The Eye Center of Central Pennsylvania — has made its home there.

The park seems like it would be attractive to business. It has rail availability and electric, gas, water and sewage infrastructure already are on site. It also is only a handful of miles from Interstate 80. Completion of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway will only add to its attraction.

Union County Commissioner John Showers has seen this before and is taking a cautious approach. Still, it’s difficult not to get excited about the possibilities. “I’m pleased that finally the Target property is going to find productive use,” Showers said. “We need to see the first spade in the dirt. I think a local company investing up there will inspire others to take a second look at Great Stream Commons.”

Earlier this year, Moran’s group received a $2 million state grant to help build a new distribution center in Watsontown.

Moran’s words then should be touted moving forward. “As a family, we only want the best for Pennsylvania,” Moran said in August. “And to make a long-lasting impact through investment in the community.”

Showers and John Mathias are leaving the commissioners board following the election. It will be imperative for the new members of the board — and there is a possibility that the entire board could be new — make filling Great Stream Commons a priority.

Bringing in a local presence with a history of development here sounds like a nice starting point.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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