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Newgate Distribution Center dedicated

January 13, 1999

Newgate Distribution centerBy KERRY LYNN FRALEY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




HALFWAY - The new 360,000-square-foot Newgate Distribution Center on Hopewell Road will give the county an advantage in attracting distribution jobs, local leaders said Tuesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project.

More than half of the United States can be reached overnight by truck from the cavernous building, completed in the fall, said Donald M. Bowman, whose development company built it.

But the distribution center, slated to grow to more than 1.2 million square feet as demand warrants, will cultivate not only jobs at the companies that move there but also jobs at businesses drawn to the area by those companies, Bowman said.

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It may already have saved hundreds of local manufacturing jobs, according to its lone tenant, CertainTeed Corp., which makes vinyl siding and windows at its plant in Williamsport.

The company took over 130,000 square feet in mid-November to create a distribution center handling all of its window operations, said Ben McIntosh, who as materials manager is responsible for all distribution for the Valley Forge, Pa.-based company.

Operations at CertainTeed Corp.'s plant, which is across the street from Bowman's trucking company, D.M. Bowman Inc., have grown by close to 20 percent a year for the past three years, McIntosh said.

If not for Bowman Development Corp.'s $10 million building, the company would have been faced with building its own distribution center or, if the cost were lower, considering moving, he said.

"Because this building became available, we were able to keep this operation in Maryland," McIntosh said.

More than 100 people gathered in an open area next to CertainTeed's space for the short ribbon-cutting ceremony.

It included comments by Bowman, Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and Merle S. Elliott, president of the Hagerstown/Washington County Industrial Foundation.

The new distribution center fits with the county's plan to create a good business mix, said Snook, pointing to the center's manufacturing neighbors Phillips Driscopipe and Purina Mills Inc.

The facility not only will create jobs here but also will make it possible for other organizations to locate nearby, said Bartlett, who praised local and state government support for the project and Bowman personally.

He said Bowman, who started his business empire with one truck he drove himself, epitomizes the American dream.

Bowman said he sometimes refers to the privately funded distribution center as "incubator space" to help bring companies into the county.

There are plans for a second building, to be built once the first building is filled or there's a commitment on the new space, he said.

"We're very optimistic. We're talking to quite a few people," Bowman said.

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