Montgomery County

Dollar General moves plans to Montgomery County

Dollar General is tentatively planning to build an $85-million distribution center in the Montgomery
A Dollar General store in Cherry Hill, N.J. in 2013.
A Dollar General store in Cherry Hill, N.J. in 2013.

Dollar General is tentatively planning to build an $85-million distribution center in the Montgomery County town of Florida this year, bringing 550 jobs to the area in what County Executive Matt Ossenfort called the biggest economic news of his three years in office.

Ossenfort announced the plan this morning on Amsterdam’s WCSS 1490 radio station.

The company’s plans were approved last night by the Montgomery County Business Development Center, according to county officials.

“It could be potentially one of the larger employers in the county,” Ossenfort said later in a phone interview. “Obviously we still have to go through the local and state permitting and planning process but we feel very good about the application that was submitted last night. It has the potential to put hundreds of people to work and tens of millions of dollars of investment in the county.”

The 750,000-square-foot distribution center is planned for the Florida Business Park Extension on Route 5S near the Target Distribution Center, Beech-Nut factory, Alpin Haus and Hill & Markes distribution center.

Ossenfort said it would service about 1,100 Dollar General stores in the Northeast.

A company representative said on Thursday that the site is “one of several locations” identified as a possibility for a Northeast distribution center and that the company is in the “due diligence phase” for the location.

She said she could not verify building investment or job creation estimates until the project is finalized.

Dollar General recently dropped plans to build a distribution center in the Saratoga County town of Wilton.

Florida Town Supervisor Eric Mead, whose father Ron Mead established the business park when he was supervisor, said the distribution center would align with the town’s comprehensive plan.

“That was the vision from years ago, to bring industry here and growth, to create jobs,” he said. “And every board since then has followed through with it. I’m very proud to help carry out what they started, what my dad started, years ago.”

Town and county leaders are planning to meet with the state Department of Transportation, he said, to proactively address traffic concerns as the business park fills up with distribution centers.

“Of course there’s concern,” he said. “There’s a lot of truck traffic there already.”

Ken Rose, director of the MCBDC, said a public hearing will likely be set for late April or early May on a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for the company. Right now, the PILOT would start at zero percent in the first two years and ramp up to full value over the course of 15 years.

The property is currently contributing $4,430 in property taxes, he said.

“By year three, based on the current assessment, their PILOT payments would be around $500,000,” he said. “So it’s a substantial shot in the arm compared to what that property is making right now.”

Rose said the plans will likely be moving through the town of Florida planning board over the next few months, but he didn’t anticipate complications. Neither did Ossenfort.

“This is on land that was zoned and designed for this exact purpose, so all that stuff is out of the way,” Ossenfort said on WCSS 1490. “That’s the importance of having a shovel-ready site. There’s no surprises here.”

Ossenfort said the county and town have been working together to develop and market the site for at least three years.

“We should have a smooth process locally,” he said. “It will fit in, it’s not going to change our rural character, but it’s going to give people an opportunity around here to get a job.”

Of the 550 jobs, 430 will be on the company’s payroll and 120 will be dedicated contractors like truck-drivers and security, he said. The average salary is projected to be about $34,000.

“In a county where your household median income is $40,000, I believe, that’s good news,” he said.

He said the company is “moving fast” and he would expect them to break ground later this year.

Reach Gazette reporter Kyle Adams at 723-0811, [email protected] or @kyleradams on Twitter.

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