Solo Cup Co. is in the final stages of purchasing land in Harford County for a new East Coast distribution center, a warehouse that will become the Chicago-based container maker's largest facility nationwide.
"The acquisition of the property is moving forward," said E. Leo Carter, a Solo executive vice president. "We're still doing engineering work and site-preparation studies and waiting for approvals from the county, but we have no reason to believe they won't happen. We've had a meeting of the minds."
The company's new $20 million-plus distribution center is being planned for an 80-acre tract of vacant land in the Havre de Grace section of the county, adjacent to the 300-acre Chesapeake Industrial Center there.
Although Carter declined to provide employment projections, Solo is expected to hire between 75 and 100 people for its new facility at first, sources said. Ultimately, the facility might employ as many as 250 and be expanded to 700,000 square feet.
"We're pleased that Solo will be constructing a major facility in Havre de Grace and that we're able to keep these new jobs in the Baltimore area," said Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann. "The cooperation between the city of Havre de Grace and the county's office of economic development was a major factor in bringing this to a successful conclusion."
Solo, a closely held company with an estimated $500 million in annual sales, has set a tentative date of Jan. 21 to purchase the land from the Johns Hopkins University, provided all necessary county and city approvals have been received.
Havre de Grace officials approved a tentative site plan for the company's 500,000-square-foot project in November, said Stan Ruchlewicz, the city's director of planning.
Hopkins has owned the land since December 1986, when W. John Kenney donated 520 acres known as Swan Harbor Farm to the university. In 1994, Hopkins sold a majority of the property to the county for open and recreation space for $2.25 million, said Jeff Koenig, a Hopkins real estate official.
Solo's new facility, targeted to open by year-end, will have no impact on a company manufacturing facility that employs about 115 in the Arbutus section of Baltimore County, Carter said.
In addition to operating the Arbutus center, Solo operates nine other manufacturing facilities nationwide, some of which double as distribution hubs. Its largest is a 400,000-square-foot plant in Urbana, Ill., that also serves as its headquarters.
"This represents an excellent addition to Harford's corporate community," Paul Gilbert, director of the county's office of economic development, said of Solo's project. "And it's a nice way for Havre de Grace to kick off its enterprise zone, which was designated in June and I believe was a major factor in convincing them to come here."
Pub Date: 1/09/97