A project announced this morning by Urban Outfitters and state officials is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to Lancaster County.
"In Lancaster County, there are only a handful of projects over the last decade that are bigger than this," said David Nikoloff, president of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County.
Nikoloff said the highly automated distribution facility will measure about a million square feet and will be near Urban Outfitters' smaller existing distribution location at 755 Brackbill Road in Salisbury Township, an area also known as Gap. Construction is to start early next year, and it may eventually employ more than 1,000 people, he said.
According to Nikoloff, several other communities were considered for the project, but Urban Outfitters told officials here that all other things being equal, they preferred to build here because of the workforce and the location. A Keystone Opportunity Zone application for the project, which will provide 10 years of tax breaks, has been approved.
Nikoloff said the computer and racking for the automated picking and packaging systems will cost more than the building and that up to 10 percent of the workforce could be highly skilled laborers who implement, program and maintain those systems.
According to a news release, the company currently employs about 2,400 people in Pennsylvania and expects to nearly double that upon completion of the two projects it announced today: the center in Gap, with at least 500 new jobs, and a headquarters expansion at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, with 2,000 new jobs.
The combined cost of the projects is listed at $200 million.
Urban Outfitters said its direct-to-consumer – catalog and internet – sales have experienced dramatic growth in recent years, which prompted these projects.