Bowman 'ready to go' with warehouse

April 22, 1997


Staff Writer

As soon as he receives county, state and federal approvals, Donald M. Bowman plans to start construction on a warehouse and shell building on 65 acres in the Newgate Industrial Park that could create 200 jobs.

"We're ready to go," Bowman said, adding he has prospective tenants who are ready to sign leases pending construction of the building, which will cover 300,000 to 400,000 square feet.

Bowman said the biggest holdup has been a question of who will pay for rail access to the site. A railroad spur from a CSX rail line will have to cross Hopewell Road to reach the Bowman site. Bowman said he would like to start building before the rail funding is sorted out because not all of his tenants will require rail access at the start, he said.


County Planning Director Robert Arch said rail lines have been extended to the Phillips Driscopipe and Purina plants, but it's not clear how or when the lines will be extended to other areas of the 240-acre park. Purina and Phillips Driscopipe are across the road from the Bowman site.

The park is near Interstates 70 and 81 and CSX rail lines.

Bowman said construction will take about five months, including one month to grade the property.

Bowman said he hopes eventually to expand the building to 1 million square feet. Nearby, the new Staples warehouse is 840,000 square feet and will employ 700 people by the end of 1998.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, owns the property and has signed a conditional agreement with Bowman on the property. CHIEF President Merle Elliott said prospects for state or federal funding for the rail spur don't look promising.

In addition to the rail issue, conditions of state and federal grants for the project must be met, such as completion of an environmental and archaeological study, officials said.

"There are hoops that have to be jumped through," Elliott said.

After state and federal officials approve the project, the county will move forward with the process of approving Bowman's site plan, Arch said.

Bowman said he is concerned about losing some tenants if he doesn't get approvals in a timely fashion.

Bowman said the number of jobs at the site would depend on whether labor-intensive manufacturing tenants move in or if the building is all warehousing.

Bowman said he owns about 1 million square feet of building space elsewhere in the county that supports about 600 jobs, not including truck drivers.

Bowman owns D.M. Bowman Inc., a trucking firm based in Williamsport.

The new building would be a multimillion-dollar project, but Bowman said he wouldn't know how much it would cost until he knew how much custom work would be required by different tenants.

Washington County Commissioner James R. Wade said Monday the county needs to seek more manufacturing jobs for the limited industrial park space left.

"Newgate Industrial Park is only so big, and we have to be cognizant of the fact that we're filling it up with warehouse space," Wade said.

Wade said he thought Bowman's proposed project will bring good jobs to the area but that the county needs to put an emphasis on attracting more companies like Phillips Driscopipe and Phoenix Color.

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