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Macy's distribution center 'good for our valley'

L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp says region will benefit

December 18, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Macy's distribution center planned near Martinsburg, W.Va., will have an impact well beyond state lines, a Franklin County, Pa., economic development leader said last week.

"This is good for our valley, and we're developing a regional economy," said L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp. "We all benefit from a project like this."

Although the center could strain other employers looking for warehouse workers, it'll create a need for things such as construction, janitorial services and office supplies from across the region, Ross said.

A $95 million Norfolk Southern rail-truck facility being built in Antrim Township, Pa., will further affect the warehousing industry along the Interstate 81 corridor, Ross said. The intermodal facility is expected to open in late 2012.

Estimates are the intermodal facility will take 1 million tractor-trailers off the nation's roads, but it could add truck traffic locally as the containers are transferred to trains, Ross said.

"The big issue here on 81, given that it is a very congested highway right now, when you look at additional centers, it adds to the (passenger car) traffic and truck traffic," Ross said, saying I-81 needs help from the federal government.

Ross said he expects new development of distribution centers in Franklin County. Existing space is available in the Chambers-5 Business Park, plus development opportunities exist at Exit 3, between Exits 10 and 14, and at a 350-acre logistics park at Exit 24.

Franklin County already has 10 distribution centers along I-81. They are Food Lion, World Kitchen, Target, Kmart, Chambersburg Cold Storage, Franklin Storage, DDS, Ozburn-Hessey, Ingram Books and Gabler Trucking.

"(Interstate) 81 right now is really the primary corridor for distribution of product for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast," Ross said.

Together, the centers employ 2,000 to 2,500 people, Ross estimated. The largest employers are Food Lion, World Kitchen, Target and Ingram Books, with 500 or more workers each, he said.

Ross said Macy's will study the region to offer wages consistent with other facilities. Those wages mirror ones found in the manufacturing industry.

The Macy's announcement will trigger further discussions about the area among key players in warehousing, Ross said.

"It gets all of us on the radar," he said. "It gets folks looking at I-81."

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