Publisher increasing presence in Pa.

December 23, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - University Press of America, a major academic book publisher with offices and warehouses in Blue Ridge Summit, plans to double the amount of warehouse space here with construction to begin in the spring.

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University Press bought the Blue Ridge Summit facilities from McGraw-Hill in February 1997 and moved its customer service and credit collection operations there, said George Franzak, chief financial officer for the publishing company. University Press also needed the two warehouses that came with the property for its book distribution operations. The warehouses have a combined 100,000 square feet of space.

McGraw-Hill bought the property from Tab Books in the early 1990s.

In addition to publishing books for academia, University Press distributes books for more than 80 other publishers, said George Franzak, chief financial officer at University Press' offices in Lanham, Md.

The company's main editing functions, including design, graphics, copy editing and layout, are done at Lanham. It also has editing offices in Chicago, New York, California, Colorado and Montana, Franzak said.


University Press already had approval from the Washington Township Supervisors to build an 80,000 square-foot warehouse earlier this year, said Jerry Zeigler, township zoning enforcement officer.

This week the supervisors approved plans for the company to build a 16,500-square-foot building that would connect the office building to the warehouse facilities, Zeigler said.

He said the expansion will be good for the township. "They'll have as many people working there as there were when Tab Books had the property," Zeigler said.

University Press has 300 employees in its Blue Ridge Summit operations, Franzak said. Another 100 work in the company's other facilities, he said. He said it is not yet known how many more employees will be hired when the new warehouse opens next summer.

"We're a growing business," Franzak said. "It's only been about two years and we've already outgrown our warehouse space."

The company does about $60 million in business a year, wholesale and retail, he said.

Mike Ross, executive director of the Franklin County Area Development Authority, said the latest expansion at University Press "is consistent with the plans the company said they had when they acquired the McGraw-Hill property."

"They said they would fill the space and predicted they would need more space for significant expansion," Ross said. "We're excited about what they're doing. They have created the economic impact that we wanted.

"University Press is a stellar corporate neighbor."

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