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LOUISVILLE, KY-The dedication of the new $67 million Louisville Centennial Hub, a UPS facility that can handle up to 40,000 packages an hour, opened Friday as part of a $1 billion expansion plan by the company. The firm wants to go from four million sf to five million sf, mostly at its Worldport facility.

The new Centennial building, at 258,390 sf, replaces the Ashbottom Lane facility on the Worldport campus, which had handled 30,000 packages per hour. The new building on 54 acres on Air Commerce Dr. is about a mile from the Worldport property, and will have 1,100 employees. “This is our largest employer by far, with more than 20,000 employees, and they have been expanding rapidly as more people ship things,” a city spokesman tells GlobeSt.com. “We bleed brown in Louisville.”

The new building will cover an area that includes Kentucky and Ohio. Company officials say capacity at the Centennial building can be expanded to 60,000 packages an hour. “Basically, it comes down to that we have a growth in services in Louisville, for small packages, air freight and logistics,” says a UPS spokesman. “We also needed more room to work on aircraft at the airport. The removal of the Ashbottom facility will give us that room.”

He tells GlobeSt.com that the expansion to five million sf will be coming online in several phases, with completion by 2010. The UPS expansions have encouraged more development in the area, including a 936,000-sf spec distribution facility, Salt River Two, being built by Lauth Property Group LLC in Salt River Business Park at the junction of Intersate 65 and 480.

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