LEBANON, IN-United States Cold Storage Inc., a New Jersey-based subsidiary of the UK-based Swire, plans to build a 300,000-sf refrigerated storage and distribution site here in the Lebanon Business Park. The $38 million facility will serve the Midwest, and create more than 100 jobs. With the firm’s requirement for a rail connection to the Conrail track, the extension could open up another 250 acres of rail-accessible land that could support about five million sf of new development, said a local economic development official in a statement.

The firm operates 30 refrigerated warehouses in the US in California, Delaware, Florida, Ilinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennyslvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The 119-year-old company handles more than six million pounds of temperature-sensitive products manufactured by domestic and international food companies around the world, with a network of facilities comprised of more than 165 million cubic feet of storage space. “Over the last few years, we’ve had a number of requests for USCS to provide coverage in the Indianapolis area,” said David Harlan, president and CEO of the firm, in a statement. “Lebanon is a strategic location.”

The 15-year-old business park is about 1,000 acres, with about 660 acres taken up by more than 6.4 million sf of industrial development. Other tenants include Case New Holland, Pearson Education, Henderson Trailer and Hachette Book Group USA. The average lease rate for warehouse space in the Boone County submarket is $3.75 per sf, according to a market report by Grubb & Ellis. Most recently, National Distribution Centers expanded its lease to 382,500-sf in Building 14 in the business park.

Kristie McKillip, executive director of the Boone County Economic Development Corp., said in the statement that third-party logistics providers will find they can run a more efficient operation with a new modern bulk distribution center that has direct rail access. Rail to the site will be provided through a partnership between the city and Duke Realty Corp. McKillip did not return calls for this story, and Duke officials refused to comment.

The cold storage firm will receive more than $1.3 million in performance-based tax credits and infrastructure assistance from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for the new building. The city is also considering a property tax abatement. Hiring of workers for the facility will begin in January, ahead of its planned opening in June 2009.

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