Archive for Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lawrence likely to land distribution center

Lawrence is likely to be chosen as the site for a multimillion-dollar distribution center in early 2010, the leader of a local manufacturing company confirmed Tuesday.

November 24, 2009


Lawrence is likely to be chosen as the site for a multimillion-dollar distribution center in early 2010, the leader of a local manufacturing company confirmed Tuesday.

Steve Brown, plant manager for Berry Plastics’ Lawrence operations, said his company has all but settled on Lawrence as the site for a new distribution and warehouse facility that is needed to serve the company’s growing drink cup business.

“Several developers are putting their proposals together as we speak,” Brown said. “We’re definitely past the need stage. We’re basically at the must-have stage.”

The project is expected to bring about 20 jobs to Lawrence from a warehouse in Topeka that Berry currently leases.

But Brown said the bigger impact is that the distribution center would give Berry more room to grow a new line of drink cup production at its Lawrence plant, which previously operated under the PackerWare name.

That drink cup line already has added 500 employees to Berry’s Lawrence plant since 2006, when city commissioners approved a 90 percent tax abatement to bring the new product line to Lawrence.

“That project has been extremely successful,” said Brown, who estimated Berry’s Lawrence work force now numbers about 950 employees. “It is ahead of its planned schedule by at least two years.”

Green product

The company had anticipated adding about 150 employees as part of the new product line, but demand has soared as the cups have tapped into the growing “green market” for products.

The drink cup line uses a new thermoforming process that allows cups to be produced with far less plastic resin, and at a weight that is about two-thirds less than a standard plastic cup. The cups have been popular with companies looking for products that can be promoted as being more environmentally sustainable, Brown said.

The company hopes to make a decision on a specific site by the end of March, Brown said. The company currently leases warehouse space along Haskell Avenue in the former E&E; Display building. It also leases warehouse space in Topeka, and uses several semi-trailers scattered throughout Lawrence for storage needs.

Brown said the company wants to consolidate all its warehouse operations under one roof. The need to be close to the company’s manufacturing plant, 2330 Packer Road, has Berry leaders focusing on Lawrence sites.

“It really needs to be in Lawrence or in very close proximity to Lawrence,” Brown said.

Brown declined to go into detail about how large the facility may be, but said the project likely would involve constructing a new warehouse building because there are not any available Lawrence buildings that are large enough.

He also declined to give details about what locations in Lawrence the company is considering.

City support

Beth Johnson, vice president of economic development for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said her office has been working with Berry on the project.

“It would be a great project for the community,” Johnson said. “They have found a product that has been able to grow even in this economy. We definitely feel like we need to do whatever we can to be the ultimate location for the project.”

It wasn’t clear what type of incentives the company may be seeking as part of the development. The abatement city commissioners approved in 2006 included up to three phases of expansion and about $120 million in new investments. The warehouse project would be in addition to those.

Technically, the company has not started receiving the abatement. Roger Zalneraitis, the city’s economic development coordinator, said the company has waited to finalize the abatement until it completes all aspects of the expansion project. The abatement is good for 10 years.


Randall Barnes 8 years, 4 months ago


Downtoearth 8 years, 4 months ago

Jobs are very well needed!! More plastic?

Please recycle!!

Lori Nation 8 years, 4 months ago

Don't give them any tax breaks because our schools need them.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

That's a ten year tax increase for all other tax payers. USD 497 just blew 20 million on their sports project. How we going to pay for that?

BigPrune 8 years, 4 months ago

The article says in 2006 their expansion resulted in the increase of 500 jobs. This will add 20 more, so better than nothing.

As for the tax increase for all other taxpayers, that's b.s. merrill. If you want to go after a drain, go after the schools - they take and take and take far more than their fair share. If KU increased their employment 500, nobody would bitch - even though they don't have to pay property taxes. The biggest so-called "corporate" welfare recipient is KU.

TopJayhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

I tax abatements. Topeka will be glad to give them tax abatements. It will just be another thing we can steal from you due to the myopia of people like Merrill, and Irsth1230.

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 4 months ago

We lost the wind turbine plant. Commissioners can you make sure we land this one,please.

nbnozzy 8 years, 4 months ago

Iristh, back in the 1980's I worked for USD 497 and one part of my job was to micro film the bills that were paid by the district. I never saw so much waste in my life. It angered me to have to see them. Administrators and teachers were flying all over the USA going to conferences. Their expenses were paid. No limit on cost of hotels, meals, supplies bought at these conferences. Lots of perks for them, yet the janitors in the buildings had to pay for their own coffee.

Then is no different from today. They whine and cry constantly that there is never enough money to teach the children. The money is there for education, The reality is that the fox is still in the hen house.

fastwalker 8 years, 4 months ago

to burrow a loin:

"...we (need) things that will last us the rest of our lives; (I) envision a world full of humans... using tools that will last us until the end."

monkeyhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

"The project is expected to bring about 20 jobs to Lawrence from a warehouse in Topeka that Berry currently leases."

To me, this reads that the 20 jobs already exist in Topeka and the people who hold those jobs will be transferred to Lawrence.

bechurass 8 years, 4 months ago

So... If my our tax dollars are going to help fund this project to house a new 'GREEN' product, is the city going to put a local GREEN INITIATIVE into place for the construction of the project? God knows the schools aren't doing it; Lets get new environmentaly friendly buses but house and maintain them in a building with a carbon footprint the size of Texas. It's about time that Lawrence starts doing green and stop thinking about it!

Thats_messed_up 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes! Let's blow $400,000 on each bus so you hippies can imagine your a green city.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

"To me, this reads that the 20 jobs already exist in Topeka and the people who hold those jobs will be transferred to Lawrence."

That's pretty much how EcoDevo is done these days, There's nothing "developmental" about it. It's internecine warfare, and it's more widespread than between Lawrence and Topeka. It's become a meaningless but profitable side game while ever more of the economy is commodified and outsourced.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

with the release of the East Anglia CRU e-mails, we now have proof of what we've been saying: no actual global warming, it is a hoaxe! the earth has actually cooled over the past ten years. and these scientists actively hid these facts from the public and the UN's big fancy panel.


*Carbon footprint=scam

new jobs, real, get'em. if BP has figgered out a way to tap the green scam, okay. a sucker's born every minute.

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