IKEA plans huge center in Perryville

Distribution facility to get tax credits, cost $50 million

Site is ex-tire plant on bay

250 to be hired when first phase opens this summer

IKEA to build huge center in Cecil County

January 24, 2002|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

In one of the state's largest deals for industrial space, IKEA International A/S said yesterday that it plans to open a 1.7 million-square-foot distribution center in Perryville.

The Cecil County center will partially open this summer and will house products of the Swedish home furnishings retailer.

When completed, the center will be 800 feet wide and about a half-mile long - about five times the size of an average IKEA store and larger than the Arundel Mills mall (1.4 million square feet) and Towson Town Center (998,000 square feet).

IKEA plans to open more centers like the $50 million Perryville facility, which will employ 300 to 400 workers, as part of an expansion plan that will add 50 new stores in North America over 10 years.

The company plans to hire about 250 workers for the opening.

"The town of Perryville's direct port access [to Baltimore], as well as its labor force will help us further meet consumer demand for our product in the Maryland, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania regions, while providing renewed energy and economic vitality to Perryville," said Brad Prevost, real estate specialist for IKEA.

IKEA has 15 U.S. stores, including one in White Marsh. Another Maryland location is planned in College Park.

The Perryville property, acquired from Occidental Chemical Corp., is a former Firestone Tire facility that has been cleaned of pollutants. It has been empty for years.

There is no road to the property except through downtown, so the town, county and state are building a $2 million access road from U.S. 40.

The site is also in a state enterprise zone and IKEA will receive property and income tax credits. Prevost said the credits sealed the deal because they will offset the $5 million cost of the 131-acre site, which was larger than the company needed.

Craig S. Lewis, an industrial space specialist at the Colliers Pinkard commercial real estate firm, said he believes the IKEA facility will be among the state's five largest industrial buildings.

Paul Gilbert, director of the Cecil County Office of Economic Development, said the building is equivalent to what is built in the county in three years. "At 850,000 square feet, the first phase, it's the largest industrial building here," he said.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening said IKEA's use of an old industrial site is ideal for Maryland. "The entire region benefits from having an international distribution center like IKEA locate in Cecil County. Best of all, by focusing our economic development in a Smart Growth area, we are bringing 350 new jobs to Maryland without sacrificing any of our precious farmland," he said in a statement.

To build the facility, IKEA will destroy some wetlands, but will create new wetlands elsewhere.

To appease local residents concerned about an industrial facility so close to Chesapeake Bay waters, the company will donate about 20 acres of the site to a preservation group. The Coudons, a local family with land adjacent to the 20 acres, will also donate about 100 acres of property for preservation, Gilbert said.

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