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Businesses to get $2 million in loans, grants

July 21, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Six businesses will receive more than $2 million in loans and grants from the state and Washington County to locate here or expand, projects that will create 561 new jobs, the county's economic development director said Tuesday.

The money, most of which was provided by the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund, will go to Tractor Supply Co., JLG Industries Inc., Home Depot/Your Other Warehouse, Mountainside Teleport Corp., Lowe's Home Centers Inc. and GST AutoLeather Inc. toward construction projects.

The state has agreed to provide $1.6 million in loans and $310,000 in grants to the businesses, and Washington County has agreed to $173,000 in loans and grants, according to a written statement from the Hagerstown-Washington Economic Development Commission (EDC).

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All of the businesses, except GST AutoLeather, might not have to pay back the state and county loans if they meet certain development requirements, according to information provided by the county.

Those requirements include hiring a certain number of employees and retaining those jobs for a certain period of time.

The $250,000 state loan to GST AutoLeather must be paid back, but the county agreed to give the company a $50,000 grant, which does not have to be paid back, county officials said.

The County Commissioners approved resolutions at Tuesday's meeting endorsing the projects, actions that were required by the state.

The business projects are anticipated to generate $109.6 million in new private investment to the local economy,

Mountainside Teleport Corp., a subsidiary of Intelsat Global Service Corp., also will receive $1.6 million in county tax breaks over a six-year period.

Mountainside Teleport plans to expand operations at the company's Friendship Technology Park location by leasing or building a 40,000-square-foot office on 55 acres, according to county information.

EDC Director Tim Troxell said the average wage paid by Mountainside Teleport is about $70,000.

"Clearly, that's been a big plus for the county," Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

Mountainside Teleport will receive a $600,000 loan from the state toward the expansion.

In addition to Mountainside Teleport, the following projects are either planned or under construction:

  • Lowe's Home Centers: In the process of moving its flatbed distribution center from 914 S. Burhans Blvd. in Hagerstown to the CSX Valley Park on Wesel Boulevard in Hagerstown. Lowe's is building a 167,896-square-foot distribution center on 52 acres at the new site.

  • GST AutoLeather: The company is expanding and renovating its research, development and laboratory facilities at its Williamsport location. Troxell said 26 high-paying jobs will be moved from King of Prussia, Pa., to Hagerstown.

  • Home Depot/Your Other Warehouse: Your Other Warehouse will lease 454,000 square feet for a distribution center in the former TruServe building at Hunters Green Parkway, creating 231 jobs.

  • Tractor Supply Co.: The business is building a 482,000-square-foot distribution center along Hopewell Road near Interstate 81 in the Crossroads Corporate Center. The new facility will expand Tractor Supply's distribution operations in the northeast region and employ 180 full-time workers by December 2006.

  • JLG Industries: JLG will expand operations at its Fountainhead Plaza facility, renovate 28,700 square feet of office space and convert about 8,700 square feet of warehouse space to office space. Troxell said the expansion will bring about 40 new jobs to Washington County.
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