New Macy's facility in Martinsburg expected to open in July

May 10, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Merchandise is expected to be shipped from the new Macy’s Internet fulfillment center in July, according to Stephen Christian, executive director of the Berkeley County Development Authority.

A dedication ceremony and open house for the 1.3-million-square-foot facility at 333 Caperton Blvd. in the Cumbo Yard Industrial Park is expected to be held in July, but a date has not been set, Christian told the Berkeley County Council Thursday.

Built for the retail giant’s Internet business, the building has been completed and is currently being stocked with products, Christian said.

Hiring still is under way and the distribution facility’s operating systems are being finetuned, Christian said.

The company has selected several thousand people as qualified applicants for the 400 or so jobs that the company intends to fill in the second and third quarter of this year, Christian said.

He said road and traffic-signal improvements prompted by the construction of the new facility off W.Va. 9 northwest of Martinsburg have been completed.

Members of the Berkeley County Development Authority board of directors were told in April that the building contained 14 miles of conveyors and that product shipping from the facility would begin July 5, according to the authority’s April 4 meeting minutes.

After the meeting, Christian said that merchandise shipped from the Martinsburg facility will be sent to regional sorting facilities and then delivered to customers.

When fully operational, the facility is expected to employ about 1,200 people, not including hundreds of seasonal workers, Christian has said.

In other economic news, Christian said Thursday that an even larger investment proposed last year for Tabler Station Business Park south of Martinsburg still is being considered by an unnamed company.

The business park, which encompasses about 250 acres, was proposed as the site for “Project Java.”

“The answer is we haven’t been told ‘no,’” Christian said when asked about whether Berkeley County remained in the running for the project.

Plans presented to the county last fall for Project Java proposed construction of two warehouse/distribution center-style buildings on two lots totaling 195 acres in the business park. Each structure was to cover more than 1 million square feet.

Christian said the potential investment first emerged in April last year and by last fall the county was apparently among only a few locations being considered by the company.

Then, the company “slammed the brakes” on making the investment, which Christian said has been in a holding pattern ever since.

“I find it to be a little discouraging,” he said.

Regardless of that outcome, Christian said he thinks the development authority is in a position where it will be able to make a “meaningful announcement of a new company locating here within the calendar year — perhaps within the next few months.”

Christian told council members that the development authority has handled a lot of activity for prospective businesses.

Macy’s and other high-profile investments have helped raise the county’s profile and attract more interest in locating in Berkeley County, according to Christian.

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