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Fortune-500 e-commerce company considering bringing warehouse/distribution facility to Harford County

While details are scarce on the Fortune-500 e-commerce company that is considering a project in Harford County, county government says that it could bring 250 full-time jobs and $50 million in capital investment.

The 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse/distribution facility would be located at 1500 Woodley Road in the Perryman area near Aberdeen, according to the resolution introduced Tuesday night at the request of County Executive Barry Glassman and co-sponsored by Councilman Curtis Beulah.

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Speaking before the Harford County Council Tuesday, Director of Community and Economic Development Len Parrish said that he could not reveal the company’s name, but they were “looking at” a project in Harford County and had requested state economic development funds. Parrish said they were a “very large, very well-known” e-commerce company.

Referred to as “Project DANE” in the presentation to the County Council, the company is described as an American e-commerce Fortune 500 company that has been around for nearly two decades, employs more than 16,000 people and made $9.1 billion in revenue in 2019.

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Wayfair, an online furniture and home goods company, matches that description. The Boston-based company, founded in 2002, cracked the Fortune 500 for the first time in 2019, when it reported $9.127 billion in revenue. It employs more than 16,900 people, according to 2019 fourth-quarter financial report.

A spokesperson for Wayfair, when reached by email, did not wish to comment for this article.

County spokesperson Cindy Mumby said county government was not able to disclose the company’s name because of a non-disclosure agreement. Such agreements are common for situations of this type, she said, to protect the company’s negotiating power.

Harford County is one of the sites the company is considering for its project, Mumby said. No lease has been signed, so the project is notional at this point.

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A "very well-known" Fortune 500 e-commerce company is considering bring a warehouse/distribution city to the Perryman area of Harford County. Plans for the warehouse at 1500 Woodley Road are shown.
A "very well-known" Fortune 500 e-commerce company is considering bring a warehouse/distribution city to the Perryman area of Harford County. Plans for the warehouse at 1500 Woodley Road are shown. (Courtesy Harford County Government)

The Perryman area around the site is home to numerous similar distribution centers, including those for Rite Aid, Sephora, Electrolux, Bob’s Discount Furniture and Clorox.

Known as Eastgate, the project is being developed by MRP Industrial, a Baltimore-based firm that specializes in such buildings in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. MRP’s plans call for three warehouses spanning a combined 2.3 million square feet on a narrow strip of land along Woodley Road abutting the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Parrish said the state would offer a $750,000 conditional loan to the company as part of a program meant to attract businesses to the state. The county would have to match that loan at 10%, which it would to do through reimbursable technical training grants. For three years, Parrish explained, the company would spend $50,000 a year on training for its staff, of which Harford County would reimburse it $25,000 annually in those years.

The $75,000 match represents Harford’s incentive package to get the company to set up shop in the county, Mumby said, and the reimbursement is contingent on the company meeting its employment targets.

If the company signs a lease in Harford County, Mumby said the project could be expected to open in 2022, giving it time to meet the employment goal.

According to the presentation, project would bring 125 full-time employees by Dec. 31, 2023, and then 250 full-time employees by the end of 2027. Parrish said the project would bring slightly over $50 million in capital improvements to the county.

The company offers a minimum $15 per hour starting wage, Parrish said, which helps support its workforce.

Beulah said he was supportive of the project. In his district, where the facility would be located, some warehouses have short lifespans, opening and closing quickly, but he expressed optimism with this potential project.

“I think it is a great benefit to Harford County and its citizens,” he said at the meeting. “It is going to bring some great jobs, and hopefully they will be long-lasting.”

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