Distribution center site on fast track

The unidentified company working with California developer ProLogis to build and lease a $90 million distribution center in Union wants the facility operational by Nov. 1, 2014.

“This project is moving forward fairly rapidly,” said Montgomery County Administrator Joe Tuss, adding there are still contracts to be signed before the project is a done deal.

Tuss said based on discussions with ProLogis the 1.8 million-square-foot building will be under construction in 30 to 45 days.

Local jurisdictions and the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District (TID) — responsible for building an access road and extending water and gas lines to the site are working at hyper speed.

“Water and sewer is being installed even as we speak,” John Applegate, Union’s city manager said Tuesday. “By Sept. 1, road work will start and be completed by Aug. 1, 2014.”

Applegate said the global real estate firm Jones, Lang & LaSalle based in Chicago contacted the city three months ago inquiring about the site for an unnamed client. The firm has worked with companies such as KeyBank, Dassault Systems North American and Navistar International Corporation, according to its website.

ProLogis plans to build the facility and lease it to the client, which will employ more than 1,000 people. ProLogis will commit to obtaining the property for construction once it has entered into a lease agreement with its client, according to documents obtained from the Montgomery County TID. Though ProLogis isn’t revealing the client for this project, among its top 10 customers are DHL, Amazon.com Inc., and FedEx Corporation.

“The fact is, any company that is looking at that large of a facility with that many jobs, whoever it is, is more than welcome to become a part of our community,” Tuss said.

The Montgomery County TID and the Union City Council on Monday along with the Montgomery County Commission Tuesday approved intergovernmental agreements for the financing and implementation of $11.5 million in public infrastructure work being placed around Union’s Global Logistics Park. Portions of Dog Leg Road and Jackson Road will be improved north of U.S. 40 and a new road will connect them to Old Springfield Road.

Union city leaders also approved legislation applying tax increment financing to the ProLogis site.

Attracting large distribution and logistics companies is part of a long-term county strategy.

The Montgomery County Commission designated the industry as a core economic development cluster several years ago. That effort has landed major employers like Caterpillar in Clayton supporting about 600 jobs and Payless (Collective Brands/Wolverine) in Brookville, with 500 jobs.

“We have a strategy and when we follow the strategy good things happen,” Erik Collins, the county’s economic development director said. “We are focused.”

By mid-September, the county will have the results of a study by the Pennsylvania-based St. Onge Company, a supply chain strategy and logistics consulting firm. The $44,500 multi-county report, funded by Montgomery County and the Dayton Development Coalition, will analyze the region’s workforce (training and where workers live), industries that would be a good fit for the area and identify locations where local investments (such as infrastructure improvements) would make parcels more attractive to potential developers.

“St. Onge’s does a lot of work for Fortune 500 companies looking for a place to locate distribution centers,” Collins said. “It became evident that we needed to look at our strengths and weaknesses to grow jobs in this area. We are not taking an ad hoc approach. We are extremely competitive.”

Montgomery County has about 2,000 undeveloped acres near the airport, including 800-900 acres in Union.

“The footprint for these distribution facilities is huge and we have a lot of ground,” Applegate said.”I’ve always looked at the airport as our economic engine. What’s going on at the airport is crucial to Montgomery County and the region.”

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