Medical distribution facility likely to boost Berkeley Co. economic health

October 05, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County’s bid to land a distribution facility planned by a pharmaceutical distribution company recently fell short, but officials expect the $36.9 million investment in neighboring Frederick County, Va., will be felt across the county line.

McKesson Corp. plans to a open a medical and surgical supply distribution facility that Berkeley County Development Authority executive director Stephen Christian said is within walking distance of the Berkeley-Frederick county line.

The facility, which is expected to create 205 jobs, will be the company’s third operation in Frederick County, Va., according to published reports.

“We competed for the project,” Christian said. “They came and looked at industrial properties in Berkeley County.”

The company’s already strong presence in Virginia made it seem at least somewhat unlikely they would locate the facility outside the state, according to Christian.

Regardless, Christian said he believes Berkeley County will be able to take advantage of the jobs created at the facility.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said last month that McKesson plans to invest $36.9 million in the facility, which is expected to distribute supplies to physician offices, surgery centers, long-term care facilities and home care businesses in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, eastern West Virginia and northern North Carolina, according to The Associated Press.

Christian said another company that had been considering making a large investment in the county last year ultimately decided not to make any move.

“They never said ‘no’, they just said ‘not now,” Christian said of the unnamed company’s proposed investment, which was dubbed “Project Java.”

The company had told county officials that it needed more than 2 million square feet of industrial building space and Christian said Friday it still is in “expansion mode.”

Anticipating a decision by the company would be made on the Project Java investment, county officials in September 2011 went so far as to review a sketch plan proposing construction of two buildings on 195 acres in Tabler Station Business Park.

“We hope they come back and give us another look,” Christian said.

Christian said McKesson’s investment, meanwhile, proves that the region is a viable and vibrant location for companies to do business, noting the area, not just Berkeley County, is benefiting from the recent opening of the Macy’s fulfillment center near Martinsburg.

Christian said there are now about 800 people employed by Macy’s at its 1.3 million square foot facility, which opened this summer. Employment is expected to exceed 1,000 by the Christmas season, according to Christian.

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