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FedEx Holds Groundbreaking for Lehigh Valley Megahub

By Colin McEvoy on August 5, 2016

FedEx Ground held its official, long-awaited groundbreaking today for its 800,000 square-foot automated facility in Allen Township, a project expected to employ about 700 workers upon its projected opening in August 2018.

The $335 million project at 550 Willow Brook Road will create 600 new jobs and transfer in 100 workers from existing facilities, according to FedEx. Future expansions are also planned, and at full build-out in 2030, the megahub will be 1.1 million square-feet and employ more than 3,000.

“Standing here right now, it may be tough to envision an 800,000 square-foot facility humming with the very latest material handling equipment, thousands of packages and hundreds of employees,” said Scott Burns, Fedex Ground’s Vice President, Eastern Region. “However, I can see it plain as day, and trust me, you’ll be impressed when it is up and running.”

The Allen Township facility will be the largest warehouse and logistics hub of the nearly three dozen FedEx Ground operates across the country. It will be able to process up to 30,000 packages per hour when it opens, and 75,000 per hour at full-phase, according to FedEx.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was an early champion for this project, which will be a major job-creator and infrastructure asset for the region, and will drive new development due to businesses that want to be near a FedEx hub that can sort large amounts of packages quickly.

“It’s not by accident that FedEx wanted to be in the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC President and CEO. “The region is quickly becoming one of the major production and logistics markets in the United States. We thank FedEx for its interest in being in the region.”

More than 150 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which included remarks from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, U.S. Rep Charlie Dent, and state Sens. Lisa Boscola and Mario Scavello.

“It’s always great to have a company like FedEx come in and reaffirm what we already know and what we’ve been trying to tell the rest of the world: that Pennsylvania is a great place to do business,” Wolf said.

After several years of planning, which required seeking approval from multiple boards and and overcoming several legal challenges, the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority closed its deal in May to sell 253 acres of airport-owned land for the project.

Cunningham noted the megahub is not only a major infrastructure project for the Lehigh Valley, but also has the additional benefit of helping improve the financial situation of the Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA), another critical infrastructure asset for the region.

“The name of the game in retail and production is speed to the consumer and access to the market,” he said. “This facility is as important as a new road, a bridge, or other means of market access. It will drive additional development. That is why LVEDC was so supportive from the outset and was lobbying for government assistance to make it happen.”

Allen Township Supervisor Larry Oberly said the FedEx Ground hub is the township’s biggest business project since the Atlas Portland Cement Company in 1895.

FedEx Ground, which delivers about 7.5 million packages a day, currently has 20 facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania employing about 4,000 people. The Allen Township facility is part of the company’s nationwide network expansion plan that includes 560 distribution hubs and local pickup-and-delivery stations around the country, Burns said.

Last fiscal year, the company invested $1.6 billion in network expansion projects, Burns said. FedEx Ground has accelerated service by at least one day to more than 70 percent of the United States since 2003, and the volume of packages the company handles every business day has doubled over the last decade.

Cunningham praised the coalition that helped make this project happen, including LVIA, developer Rockefeller Group, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, the Northampton County Industrial Development Authority, Boscola, Scavello, State Rep. Dan McNeill, Lehigh County, and the townships of Hanover and Allen.

“It took a great public-private partnership to make this happen,” Cunningham said.

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