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World Kitchen sells building

jobs staying put

September 14, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The building housing the World Kitchen Inc. distribution center in Antrim Township has changed hands, but an official with the company said Tuesday that the center and its 350 jobs are staying put.

WKI Holding Co. Inc. of Reston, Va., sold the 1 million-square-foot building and 134 acres of land to Matrix Antrim Partners LP of Cranbury, N.J., for $21.7 million on Sept. 7, according to a deed filed with the Franklin County Register and Recorder's Office.

Doug Arnold, vice president for human resources at World Kitchen, said Tuesday the company sold the building at 1200 S. Antrim Way to the real estate investment and services company but is leasing it back. World Kitchen had a lot of capital tied up in its ownership of the facility and will use the proceeds from the sale to pay down its debt, Arnold said.

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Franklin County Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross said he had been aware of World Kitchen's plans going back to last spring.

"They said our intention is to stay right here," Ross said.

Employees at the center were told in May that World Kitchen was planning to sell the building and informed them Monday that the sale had been completed, Arnold said. About 275 people work in the distribution center and another 75 in various corporate functions, such as customer service and collections.

World Kitchen manufactures and sells Pyrex and Corelle brand cookware and also owns or licenses several other brands, including Corning Ware, Revere, Baker's Secret, Chicago Cutlery and EKCO, Arnold said.

World Kitchen had a larger presence in the Tri-State area until three years ago when it closed a manufacturing plant in Berkeley County, W.Va. The plant, which employed about 350 people, was closed in 2002 as part of a corporate restructuring plan, World Kitchen officials said at the time.

The sale of the facility will be a benefit to state and local tax coffers. Register and Recorder Linda Miller said the state will get 1 percent, or $217,000, from the sale. Franklin County and the Greencastle-Antrim School District will split another 1 percent, receiving $108,500 each from the sale.

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