SHIPPENSBURG - Procter & Gamble plans to bring nearly 1,000 new jobs to central Pennsylvania next year when it opens a 1.7 million-square-foot distribution center currently under construction near Shippensburg.
Preliminary site work is underway on the facility located on 183 acres at 9300 Olde Scotland Road in Southampton Township, Franklin County, said Michael Alderman, vice president in charge of leasing and development for Liberty Property Trust of Malvern.
The Chester County firm owns the land and is developing the $93 million facility for Procter & Gamble which will then lease it from the trust, Alderman said. Project completion is expected by July 2014.
Once fully operational, the center will employ four to six Procter & Gamble managers and about 950 contracted workers, said spokesman Jeff LeRoy.
Prior to opening, Procter & Gamble will sign a contract with a company that has expertise in running warehouses, LeRoy said. He explained how that company, which has yet to be determined, will run the facility and hire workers.
The combination of easy access to major regional highways, the presence of an advanced rail network and the proximity of the Interstate 81 corridor to major East Coast metropolitan areas made the site attractive to Procter & Gamble, LeRoy said.
“It is ideally situated,” he added. “The largest P&G plant in the world is in Mehoopany, near Scranton. We have a manufacturing plant in Maryland. It is a good location for us. P&G would like to thank the state of Pennsylvania, Franklin County and all local officials who helped make this project happen.”
The Procter & Gamble center was a Governor’s Action Team Project which included a funding offer from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Gov. Tom Corbett said Thursday. He explained how the consumer products firm was offered a $2 million Pennsylvania First Program Grant to locate near Shippensburg.
The third-party contractor, once named, will be eligible to apply for up to $959,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits with funding contingent on Procter & Gamble and contractor creating at least 963 jobs within three years, Corbett said.
“Pennsylvania’s pro-business environment has continued to create new jobs for Pennsylvanians,” the governor added. “This is the fourth jobs announcement in Franklin County this year; bringing anticipated job creation to over 1,100 new positions.”
The opening of a major distribution center so close to the Cumberland County border will have a ripple effect all along the I-81 corridor from Carlisle southwest to Chambersburg, said Jonathan Bowser, director of economic development for the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation.
“It sends a strong message,” Bowser said. “A lot of the jobs will be filled by Cumberland County residents. These will be stable, well-paying jobs.” He explained how the influx of workers from the Procter & Gamble project, the Volvo plant in Shippensburg and new warehouses in Penn Township could drive demand for more housing and attract supporting businesses such as convenience stores, banks and restaurants to western Cumberland County.
“We have the infrastructure to support that kind of development,” Bowser said. “The western part of the county is in high demand for distribution center type of activity.” He added the local road network gives the county easy access to two-thirds of the U.S. population making it a “sweet spot” for logistic operations.
Already, work at the Procter & Gamble site is generating jobs. Conewago Enterprises of Hanover, the general contractor for the project, estimates about 500 tradesmen will be working on the facility over the course of its construction, Alderman said. He explained how the cooperation of the Southampton Township board of supervisors made this project possible.
When Liberty Property Trust first purchased the 183-acre site, it envisioned two warehouse buildings of about one million square feet each, Alderman said. Representatives of Procter & Gamble approached Liberty Trust with a request to redesign the site to allow for one building of 1.7 million square feet.
The township approved the redesign in April 2013 clearing the way for Procter & Gamble to commit to the project site, Alderman said. “Our customers around the country have validated central Pennsylvania as a desirable location for distribution centers. The communities are wonderful. It is a great place to do business.”