TruServ must hire 350 to garner grants

April 22, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

TruServ Corp. will have to hire at least 350 workers at a minimum of $7.88 an hour at a warehouse planned for Hunters Green Business Park in order to receive government grants and incentives valued at more than $2 million.

If TruServ doesn't meet the minimum requirements, the company will have to return a portion of the grant money to the state, according to a letter from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development released Tuesday.

The warehouse will have a payroll estimated at between $8 million and $9.3 million, according to the letter, which details a package of incentives.

The warehouse will cost about $43 million, the same as the neighboring Staples Distribution Center, according to county Planning Director Robert Arch. Each warehouse is about the size of 19 football fields.


Incentives include:

-- A $1.5 million Community Development Block Grant to purchase land for the project.

-- A $125,000 training grant.

-- A job creation tax credit valued at $400,000 to $467,000. The credit is equal to 5 percent of the payroll.

The block grant includes a requirement that the jobs be at least 150 percent of the federal minimum wage and provide health benefits.

At least 51 percent of the workers must be hired from low- to moderate-income households.

TruServ would have to promise to have at least 350 workers on the payroll for at least 10 years, or return a prorated portion of the grant.

Arch said the project would bring in about $300,000 a year in county taxes.

The TruServ warehouse would be built on about 70 acres west of Staples off Hopewell Road bordering Interstate 70 and open in about a year.

The warehouse could be expanded to 1.2 million square feet.

The property is owned by Tiger Development, a Reading, Pa., development firm.

TruServ is the nation's largest wholesale hardware cooperative. The cooperative's retail stores include True Value, ServiStar, Coast to Coast, Coast to Coast Home & Auto, Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental Center, Home & Garden Showplace and Induserve Supply.

The commissioners Tuesday approved applying for the grant money from the state without dissent. County Commissioner James R. Wade, who has questioned the use of grant money to subsidize warehousing, was absent.

No county money will go toward the project, said Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers said the commissioners should consider implementing a special tax on the land in the Hopewell Valley area. Bowers said that the commissioners invested millions of dollars upgrading water, sewer and roads in the area and need to get a return on that investment.

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