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POTTSVILLE, PA-Wal-Mart added another 400,000 sf of dry goods storage space to its original plan to construct a 450,000-sf refrigerated warehouse on 153 acres near here in Highridge Park North. Both phases will now be constructed at once, and ground-breaking for the now 900,000-sf facility will take place within the next 60 days, according to Frank Zukas, president of Schuylkill Economic Development Corp.

Zukas tells GlobeSt.com the facility is expected to become operational “within 14 months of groundbreaking.” The estimated construction cost is between $75 million and $80 million. At completion, the facility will employ 700, making it “among the top 10 employers in the area,” Zukas says.

Wal-Mart acquired the land from SEDCO and Schuylkill Country, the co-developers of the park, for $3.4 million, or about $22,222 an acre. Highridge is a 2,000-acre industrial park off I-81. The Wal-Mart facility will be located on the north side of the park.

Highridge is a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone, which exempts companies there from state and local taxes through 2013. Wal-Mart will also receive a job-training grant from the state for an as-yet-unspecified amount.

This will be the retail giant’s fourth distribution center in Pennsylvania. Others are in Bedford, Clearfield, and Monroe counties. In all, Wal-Mart has 103 distribution centers and more than 3,500 retail Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores.

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