Harrisburg is seeking a $6 million grant from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to help pay for upgrades to FNB Field, home of minor league baseball’s Harrisburg Senators.
Matt Maisel, the city’s director of communications, said via email that the overall project cost is $12 million. If and when the RACP money is received, “we will figure out the rest as part of a three-way partnership between city, county and (ball)club. We will not do bonds.”
The improvements are needed because Major League Baseball has changed its requirements for player development spaces, including clubhouse size, commissary areas, weight rooms, meeting rooms, storage, training rooms, female staff facilities, etc., Maisel explained.
So to become compliant with the new standards, FNB Field must undergo some upgrades.
The RACP website said the City of Harrisburg’s application mentions that the $6 million would be used for new field lighting and renovation of existing locker rooms; a new building, on stilts, inside the stadium perimeter that will serve as the new home team clubhouse; an expanded boardwalk to provide more area for more activities and local organizations to have concourse tables during games; and scoreboard replacement.
The new Senators’ clubhouse will be at street level on the third base side where the kids’ play area currently is, Maisel said. Also, it will be raised out of the flood plain. The play area will be moved elsewhere within the ballpark.
He said the existing clubhouse footprint houses both teams but will be repurposed to support the visiting team as the Senators’ squad moves to its new accommodation.
The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds are incredibly vital to the project, Maisel said. “The No. 1 goal is for the Senators to remain home in Harrisburg on City Island. We’re fortunate to have a great relationship with the county where they may be able to help out some, but we need the state to come to the table as well and pitch in. It’s ultimately too soon to tell if this will happen with or without state funding.”
In addition to being the home venue for the Senators, FNB Field hosts baseball games played by Central Penn College and numerous high schools as well.
The Menaker Apartments developed by an affiliate of Harristown Enterprises and their investor partner, Select Capital Commercial Properties, has opened and will celebrate its grand opening and ribbon cutting Aug. 31 at 1:30pm at 17 S. 2nd Street on Market Square.
Menaker family member, Carol Menaker, will be present at the event to pay tribute to Mortimer Menaker, for whom the building was named in 1977. Historic Harrisburg Association will share some of the building’s rich history.
The 28 one- and two-bedroom art deco style apartments each include full-sized washer/dryer, stainless steel appliances and are pet friendly.
In addition, 2,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space is available on the first floor.
The Johnston Paper Company built the four-story office and commercial retail anchor in the City’s downtown in 1906 and added two additional floors in 1912.
The entire structure was renovated in 1977 and was renamed for Mortimer Menaker, then chairman of the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority.
Purchased in 2018 by an affiliate of Harristown Enterprises, the structure has undergone a complete renovation, preserving the integrity of the historic exterior of the building.
It’s not unusual these days for banks to consolidate branches.
But when M&T Bank decided to combine two of its York locations, the financial institution looked for a way to turn the vacated building into a community asset.
M&T donated its recently closed branch at 800 E. Market St. to the Spanish American Civic Association to create Tec Centro York, a workforce development center that will help the underemployed and unemployed find jobs in high-demand fields from health care to construction.
The basic adult education, linguistic and job skills training and career counseling Tec Centro York provides are geared to residents in historically underserved communities. Lancaster-based SACA has partnered with York Community Resource Center, a nonprofit that offers vocational and technical training, to administer the workforce development programs.
The building will be transferred to the Resource Center, using the Tec Centro model SACA started in Lancaster in 2014 as a template. Tec Centro Berks followed on that, opening in Reading in 2021. And work is ongoing to establish a Tec Centro in Lebanon.
Tec Centro York is scheduled to open in the second quarter of next year.
M&T closed the 800 E. Market St. branch July 29 and consolidated operations at its 21 E. Market St. location.
A subsidiary of Buffalo, New York-based M&T Bank Corp., M&T Bank serves customers from branches in 12 states and Washington, D.C.
Gail D’Angelo, regional community reinvestment act manager for M&T, said the 800 E. Market St. branch, which was originally an Allfirst Bank before that institution merged into M&T, was in a “pretty prominent corner in the neighborhood.”
And it served that neighborhood for a long time. She emphasized that a full-service ATM will remain available to customers outside Tec Centro York.
The bank also “didn’t want to leave the branch dark,” D’Angelo said, so its leadership strongly favored giving the building to an organization that would do something “impactful,” she said.
M&T worked with SACA before, and was aware of the Tec Centro model. The bank “knew this was something that was available as an opportunity,” D’Angelo said.
After a meeting was held with SACA executives, including President Carlos Graupera and CEO Jose R. Lopez, the idea to create Tec Centro York in the former bank branch started coming to fruition.
“We think it’s really cool to bring this to the York area,” D’Angelo said, and “we’re super excited to provide this space to them.”
The building has a lower level, a first floor and a second floor, all of which are usable, she said.
Getting the York Community Resource Center involved and other partners is “just going to make it a big win,” D’Angelo said.
“SACA and Tec Centro are immensely grateful for collaborative partnerships, like that of M&T Bank,” Graupera, who’s also the founder of SACA, said in a release. “This is a powerful example of a business using its resources and expertise to work alongside other organizations to amplify the community’s access to and effectiveness of our workforce development programs.”
In addition to workforce development, SACA’s programming also focuses on human services, behavioral health, affordable housing and commercial development, and public broadcasting.
According to the Lancaster Tec Centro website, students are trained for such jobs as certified nurse aide; dental assistant; medical assistant; physician assistant; phlebotomist; commercial and industrial heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician; forklift operator; facilities maintenance; commercial and industrial electrical technician; and commercial and industrial plumbing technician.
Training time varies, and can be up to six months. In 2019-20, including through the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, 160 participants enrolled in skills training at Tec Centro, with almost 89% increasing their income by at least 40%.
“In SACA, we found the perfect partner to provide residents of York with the resources and skills they need to improve their lives and provide for their families,” Tom Koppmann, M&T’s regional president for southeast Pennsylvania, said in the release. “We can’t wait to see how Tec Centro York helps to transform the communities it serves.”
Mechanicsburg-based remodeling company West Shore Home announced Wednesday that it has acquired Design Center Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Design Center specializes in mobile application development; user experience research; consulting and implementation; content management solutions; custom software platforms and integrations; website design; user interface design; graphic design services; 3D modeling; animation and visualization; virtual reality; and augmented reality.
The move brings 23 new employees to West Shore Home, which has expanded into a national brand since its founding in 2006. It currently operates 33 locations in 15 states, with plans for additional growth.
A release said West Shore Home has become “an industry leader through its use of technology to simplify the home remodeling experience. This acquisition enhances its ability to innovate and improve the customer experience. Utilizing its Don’t Blink mindset, West Shore Home is reinventing home remodeling, allowing consumers to drive the process through its tech-driven platform.”
Most of its projects are completed in one day.
“One of our core values at West Shore Home is to Get Better Every Single Day,” said CEO B.J. Werzyn. “As we look to the future of the company, technology is key to our continued growth. Bringing this established, well-respected software designer under our roof furthers our vision of becoming America’s Most Admired Home Improvement Brand.”
After a nationwide search, the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board has selected Anna Ramos as its next executive director.
Ramos has been chief operating officer at LCWDB for two-and-a-half years, where her responsibilities include the overall management, implementation and oversight of federal, state and locally funded programs and services administered by the state Department of Labor & Industry, among other duties. Previously, she was business initiatives director with the Lancaster Chamber.
The Lancaster County Workforce Development Board was founded in 1999 to align fiscal resources and provide strategic direction for county job seekers and employers.
The hiring process for executive director began with the creation of a search committee, which chose Samaritan Consulting Group to oversee the process.
Samaritan Consulting Group then held conversations with 16 key stakeholders that included Lancaster County and city public officials, as well as local educational and business leaders.
A job description and profile was developed to fully encompass the duties of the position, as well as the qualities needed for success. Four final candidates were selected, final interviews were held the second week of June, and a recommendation to the LCWDB executive committee was made.
“I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to continue to serve my community as the new executive director of the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board,” Ramos said in a release. “With workforce being one of our county’s top issues, my vision for our organization is to be a leader, convener and consistently part of the conversation in addressing these challenges. I look forward to working with my team and elevating us to the next level as your workforce community partner.”
Consumer demand is driving the warehouse boom in Central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley with ecommerce companies leasing more than half of the space.
That demand is expected to grow, and local and regional companies are investing in the development, according to CBRE.
Other space is occupied by food and beverage distribution and manufacturing companies, according to Becky Bradley, executive director of Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. Small to medium-sized businesses make up the rest.
Bill Wolf, vice president of CBRE, which tracks industrial development across the country, including Central Pennsylvania, said Lehigh Valley’s industrial sector and the region are seeing substantial growth from the scaling up of local manufacturing and logistics facilities.
Pennsylvania’s 78 and Interstate 81 corridor in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley added the most leased large industrial space in the country in 2020, with 8 industrial leases of 1 million square feet or more added last year, according to a CBRE report.
Additionally, the I-78/I-81 corridor was home to 11 of the 100 largest industrial leases, coming in at almost 13 million square feet — larger than any single MSA (Micropolitan Statistical Areas) or city-sized region in the United States, CBRE said.
The region is close to the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. It also has access to rail service through Norfolk Southern and CSX.
In addition, Lehigh Valley International Airport is ranked one of the top air cargo markets in the country and one of the fastest growing, according to the Airports Council International’s 2021 report.
“The majority of the facilities are general retail and wholesalers – consumer products,” Wolf said. The reason for the growth, he said, is simply consumer demand.
Bradley said most of the warehouses are built on spec.
“They are giant boxes with a lot of flexibility inside,” she said.
However, the majority are leased before construction is complete or around the time of completion.
“We can’t establish traffic (during the planning stages) because we don’t know who is going in until they get there,” she said.
Steven Deck, executive director, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, which covers Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry counties, agreed.
“There’s no single or even small group of developers that stand out in our region, more a broad range of commercial/industrial real estate developers,” he said.
In terms of who leases the space, “unless there is a single lease holder like FedEx, UPS, Walmart, Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, etc. we don’t know who leases the space,” Deck said. “Many of these warehouses have unknown users at the land development stage, with such decisions often made well after the planning process is complete.”
“Generally, we see 35%-40% leased before completion,” Wolf said. “Inventory is low, so space is absorbed before completion.”
According to the CBRE report, investing in warehouse and industrial space is more risk diverse. Investors are more local than foreign.
Bradley agreed, saying development is happening by companies that specialize in it. Locally, CBRE, Prologis, Lee & Associates of Eastern Pennsylvania, National Logistics and J.G. Petrucci Company Inc. are among the major players.
Space not leased by ecommerce, food and beverage or manufacturing, are leased by small or even large businesses, Bradley said.
“It could be used for storage, which there is a need for,” she said.
Many of the warehouses, Wolf said, are operated by third party operators.
“It’s always been there, but we are seeing an increase,”
He explained the third-party operators offer accounting, human resources, outsourcing and other services that help companies run more efficiently.
“We are in unprecedented times with construction delays, supply shortages and even delays in approvals,” he said. “There is more demand than supply, so costs are going up.”
Nationally, there has been a 15% increase in rents in major markets, he said. In Central Pennsylvania, rates have climbed 20%, with Lehigh Valley seeing an average of $9-$10 a square foot and Central Pennsylvania seeing $7-$7.50 per square foot.
“The further away from major transportation routes, the lower the rents will be,” Wolf said.
“All the markets are hot” and developers are stretching out to find land suitable for development,” he added.
After Lehigh Valley, developers are stretching into Berks County, Wolf said.
York County, with access to the I-83 corridor, has been strong as well. With access to Baltimore and Harrisburg, companies have pulled labor from those markets and prospered.
Lancaster and Reading, however, have suffered because of Route 222, Wolf said. “The road to nowhere does not give good access.”
While the work being done on Route 222 is ongoing, those markets are still behind in the building boom, he said.
Cold storage is an area of real growth too, he said. “These garner premium rents because they are unique buildings, especially if the leasee needs the whole building.”
Cold storage is in demand not only by food companies, but pharmaceutical and chemical companies as well, he said.
The attraction to the regional market is also due to the labor market, Wolf said.
According to the CBRE report, the regional warehouse labor force was around 190, 500 in 2020. That is expected to grow 13.4% by 2030.
While the labor market is strong, Bradley said different companies require different numbers of employees, depending on the business.
“Look at Walmart, for example,” she said. “They have two warehouses side by side. One is for small items and the other is for large ones.”
Bradley said there could be a 50% difference in the number of employees needed. The warehouse that ships small items can employ 4,000 to 5,000 people while the one that ships large items requires less hands, she said.
“These facilities are becoming more automated all the time in the efforts associated with increasing capacity without huge increases in labor costs,” Deck said.
Bradley agreed. “There is a lot more automation going on.”
Wolf said AI will play a big part in manufacturing, in warehouses and in transportation.
“These companies are more tech savvy with understanding where goods are coming from and how much they need to keep on hand,” he said. “Automation brings on more efficiency through the whole process.”
Even with inflation on the rise, Wolf said the growth of warehouse space is expected to continue because rent is a small portion of the supply chain costs when looking at the cost of transportation, goods, and payroll.
Vartan Group, Inc. unveiled plans Tuesday for a portion of Susquehanna Union Green, a town center and Traditional Neighborhood Development in Susquehanna Township.
Slated for Commercial Core Building #4, the project includes a mix of restaurants and shops, offices, single-family homes, apartments, senior living, public parks and green space.
The project, scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year, is the latest piece of the planned development in Harrisburg.
The developer is Vartan Group, Inc., and the general contractor is Poole Anderson Construction. The building was designed by Tono Architects.
Renderings of the building depict a cluster of retail storefronts with unique architecture at each entrance, fronting a pedestrian promenade with street parking,
Upon completion, the building will have five tenants in spaces ranging from 1,300 to 2,900 square feet. The building is tightly integrated into a network of outdoor spaces. Tenant suites open directly onto courtyards and patios.
Other special features of the tenant spaces include double-height ceilings, exposed ceilings and finished concrete floors.
The building has begun pre-leasing and space remains available for qualified tenants. The leasing agents are Justin Shoemaker and Drew Bobincheck with Landmark Commercial Realty.
“Susquehanna Township is where I was born and grew up,” said H. Ralph Vartan, CEO, Vartan Group. “It is a dream come true to contribute to the community character of my hometown with this building.”
“We are very excited to see this project continue to build on its momentum,” said Mike Pries, chairman of the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners. “Susquehanna Union Green is a credit to the community, township leaders, and the Vartan Group, for working together and developing a destination which will be enjoyed by the community for decades to come. Projects like this further cement Dauphin County as a great place to live, work and play,” Pries added.
“Susquehanna Township’s commissioners and professional staff applaud this latest milestone in the development of Susquehanna Union Green,” said Frank Lynch, township board president. “Today’s groundbreaking – as well as all other phases of the project – demonstrates the tremendous benefits that can accrue when business, municipal and residents’ interests are carefully considered and fairly applied in a way that benefits all.”
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is accepting bids for the purchase of $4.5 million in mixed-use development tax credits.
The funds collected from successful bidders will be used for the construction or rehabilitation of mixed-use developments in Pennsylvania communities. The deadline for bids is 2 p.m. on Friday, July 15.
These tax credits will be used by the winning bidders – which can be companies, organizations, or individuals – to reduce their state tax liability, PHFA said.
The intent of the bidding process is to raise as much funding as possible from the $4.5 million in tax credits being made available to provide for a significant investment in community revitalization projects in various communities.
The projects to receive this funding will be selected during a competitive request for proposals process later this year.
This tax credit program was created as part of the state’s fiscal year 2016-2017 budget (implemented July 1, 2017), and PHFA was directed to administer the credit.
PHFA was authorized to sell these tax credits through directed or negotiated sale to any qualified taxpayer. It is expected that the tax credit awards will be made within 90 days after bidding closes.
The credit awards will be made in 2022, but they are not effective for utilization until 2023 against a 2022 tax liability.
“We have had solid support for this program from the private sector during its first five years,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “The value of mixed-use developments is that they not only provide much-needed affordable housing, but their commercial component adds an economic development spark in those communities.”
More information about the mixed-use development tax credit and the current bidding process is available on the PHFA website.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday the approval of $2 million in funding for five agricultural projects in four counties through the First Industries Fund.
The projects, two of which are in Lebanon County, will help farms expand their operations and bring in additional revenue.
Local recipients of loans are:
• Dalton, Dale and Kynel Himmelberger, through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp., who were approved for a $400,000 FIF loan. The money will be used to construct of two 31,500-square-foot broiler houses. The project site is at 10837 Jonestown Road, Jonestown.
• Clyde, Carolyn, Michael and Rodney Meyer, through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp., who were approved for a $400,000 FIF loan. The funds will be used to construct a pair of 31,500-square-foot broiler houses as well. The project site is on Thompson Avenue in North Annville Township.
“Pennsylvania’s economy is deeply rooted in the agriculture industry and supporting projects that spur growth in these communities is important,” Wolf said in a release. “The funding provided by the First Industries Fund helps farmers in the commonwealth grow their operations. Ensuring our farmers thrive is an investment in Pennsylvania’s future.”
Freedom Square, a large multi-use community planned for Conewago Township, York County, received conditional approval from the township board of supervisors.
The project has been a vision of Tim Pasch’s, owner of Pasch Companies, for years.
“We are very excited to bring Freedom Square to York County,” he said. “It’s going to be such a wonderful place for people to raise their families. Walking and biking trails, baseball and soccer fields, a community center, parks, open space—it’s all part of this town-center experience.”
Implemented over several phases, Freedom Square will offer more than 2,400 combined residential units including 416 garden apartments, 120 urban apartments, 325 townhomes, 742 single family homes, and 296 active adult homes. The project also includes 350 senior apartments and a 15-acre senior memory care facility with 180 beds.
“We recognized the need for diverse housing options that can accommodate both the growing population as well as the needs of our seniors in York County,” Pasch said. “Freedom Square meets those needs while also adding a positive economic impact with the creation of both temporary and permanent jobs in York County.”
In addition to its residential components, Freedom Square is also expected to include two hotels with a combined 280 rooms, a total of 37,800 square feet for retail space, 57,300 square feet allocated for restaurants, 136,800 square feet for professional and business offices, more than 175,000 square feet for light manufacturing, and a 76,500 square foot shopping center.
Almost 50% of the 460-acre project will be dedicated to greenspace, and improvements to the central stream corridor that runs throughout the site will offer an enhanced outdoor experience along a natural resource.
Pasch Companies plans to invest nearly $7 million to create outdoor recreation areas including parks, open space, walking and bike trails, baseball and soccer fields, and a community center.
Pasch said that an estimated 4,939 temporary construction jobs will be supported, and at full build-out, Freedom Square is expected to create nearly 1,583 new, permanent jobs. In addition to the job opportunities, the community is expected to bring in an estimated $21.2 million in annual property tax revenue at full build-out.
“This will be a vibrant community where families can grow together while enjoying convenient access to restaurants, stores, and parks. We are excited to bring Freedom Square to life for York County, and to cross this final hurdle,” says Pasch.
Phase one of Freedom Square, which includes infrastructure improvements, and the development of single-family and active adult homes is on target to begin in 2023.
Planned infrastructure improvements include enhancements to existing roadways, construction of new roads, and a roundabout at the entrance to the site on Canal Road. PennDOT is also exploring a potential new exit along Canal Road from Route 83, which would directly enhance the efficiency of the existing traffic flow in and around the area.
Jarred VanderPlate has been farming – in one way or another – since he was 10 years old.
“I always wanted to buy a farm,” he said, but “I never thought I actually would.”
Thanks, however, to the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County and its EDC Finance Corp., VanderPlate and his wife, Sarah, were approved for money from the state’s Next Generation Farmer Loan Program, which they used to help purchase a 53-acre chicken farm in Rapho Township.
The EDC team was as busy as ever in 2021, according to its annual report, approving millions in loans for dozens of Lancaster County businesses and farms so they can “stay and grow,” which is its core mission.
Last year, 41 projects adding up to $155 million in total investment received more than $36 million in economic development financing.
That includes 10 Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loans – six agriculture and four commercial/industrial – as well as 15 Next Gen Farmer loans and 16 Small Business Administration 504 loans.
The PIDA amounts ranged from $384,500 to $2 million, while the Next Gen Farmer loans were from $315,000 to $558,000.
Among the SBA 504 borrowers, loan totals went from $448,000 all the way up to $4.252 million.
The vast majority of recipients were from Lancaster County, while seven of the SBA loans went to businesses in Dauphin, York, Adams and Cumberland Counties.
In addition to the financing aspect, the EDC team averaged about 85 active projects on a rolling basis, helping local businesses with site selection and land planning; partnering with local municipalities; and providing connections to workforce development services and overall business counseling.
Lisa Riggs, president of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, said most EDCs have seen a lot of expansion as businesses began to rebound after the worst of the pandemic.
2022 is off to a fast start as well, with eight or nine Next Gen Farmer loans already approved, she said.
As to the PIDA loans, some of those were pushed through before interest rates reset at a higher level, Riggs explained.
The EDC team is also unique in the region for its technical expertise with SBA 504 loans, which is why it will help businesses outside Lancaster County get approved.
A formal memorandum with other counties allows that, she said.
Additionally, last year saw $3 million in loans go to 159 Lancaster small businesses through the City Revitalization & Improvement Zone program, the EDC report noted.
Being a conduit for special state programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic affected EDC’s volume as well, Riggs said.
In partnership with the Lancaster Chamber, EDC Finance helped 316 businesses receive more than $6 million from Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program.
From manufacturing to agriculture
With aid from the EDC team, Lancaster precision machining contractor Flex-Cell Precision Inc. received a Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loan of more than $1.48 million.
The money supports a multi-million-dollar expansion project – nearly finished – to add 23,500 square feet to the plant’s existing 17,500 square feet, said President and CEO Tony Fanning.
Fanning, who started Flex-Cell in New York in 1991, moved the business to its current location at 1151 S. Duke St. in 2013. EDC was involved then, too, he said.
Flex-Cell also worked with Chris Deascenti at First National Bank on financing the expansion.
“We’ve always had steady growth,” Fanning said, and the extra space leaves plenty of room to accommodate that in the years ahead.
The company employs about 50 and has a good mix of medical, military and commercial clients, mostly in the Northeast, he said.
“It was great working with EDC,” Fanning said. “They’re a fantastic group.”
Jarred VanderPlate said he and his family have been farming for about 10 months. The $552,000 Next Gen loan approved for him and his wife assisted in the $4 million farm purchase.
There are a number of options for first-time farmers, he said, and the Next Gen route was what they chose.
The VanderPlates’ chickens are pullets, which will be egg layers and supply Kreider Farms. Their farm has the capacity for 227,000 chickens, and is currently at a little more than 200,000.
He said their five children – the oldest is 13 – help out. “They really enjoy it.”
More industrial land needed
According to the annual report, the EDC has also been working on analyzing what industrial land is available in Lancaster County, as sites to accommodate expansion for manufacturers are getting scarcer.
This is building on the Lancaster County Planning Department’s Places2040 comprehensive plan “and has tapped into the knowledge and expertise of many local municipal managers,” the report noted.
Riggs said half the county has been completed in the analysis, with an initial emphasis on municipalities with urban growth areas.
Only 3% of land in Lancaster County is zoned industrial. And when that’s combined with an industrial vacancy rate is 2%, alarm bells go off, she said.
The solution to this unbalance between supply and demand, Riggs said, will take time.
“Companies that make stuff want to make more stuff,” she said. “There’s real value in those jobs.”
The Hershey Co. announced the opening of a new research and development center in Johor, Malaysia, that will enable the confectioner and snack giant to quickly create, test and launch new products customized to the tastes of consumers in the region.
One of Hershey’s largest R&D facilities outside the U.S., it will be the corporation’s AEMEA (Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa) hub for innovation and technology.
The 10,400 square-foot center, which officially opened May 11, is a major investment in the Malaysian market and will house R&D laboratories as well as a packaging development facility. In the sensory area, Hershey will partner with innovation teams to taste-test and shortlist products.
“Our new R&D center reflects our ongoing commitment to understanding the preferences of consumers across the markets,” Herjit Bhalla, Hershey’s vice president, AEMEA and India, said in a release.
“This investment is just one example of how Hershey is continuing to reinvent the science of confectionery through internal and external innovation,” added Philippe Zehnder, senior director of international R&D. “The new facility will allow our talented teams to gain deeper insights into consumers by enabling them to conceptualize, test and develop some of the most innovative products across the region.”
Hershey has approximately 19,000 employees worldwide. Its 100-plus brand names in about 80 countries generate more than $8.9 billion in annual revenue.
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