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YORK COUNTY, PA-Church & Dwight Co. Inc. broke ground on its new $150 million Arm & Hammer laundry detergent manufacturing facility and distribution center here. The company acquired the 232-acre site with the help of CB Richard Ellis, which is also overseeing construction.

The 1.1-million-sf facility is being developed by First Industrial Realty Trust Inc. and general contractor the Norwood Co. with oversight from CB Richard Ellis’ project management group, led by managing director James Carter. Carter tells GlobeSt.com that the facility will be used to manufacture Arm & Hammer’s concentrated laundry detergent, which uses less water in its manufacture and is smaller and easier to ship than conventional detergents, thus fitting it into the company’s aim to be environmentally friendly.

“Church & Dwight realized back in the 1970s that phosphorus in laundry soap was detrimental to the environment, so they changed the formula,” says Carter. “They were green before green was popular. The whole business plan for this building is based on the fact that they have to provide a quality product to the consumer that uses less water to make and less gas to ship.”

The company’s commitment to environmental responsibility extends to the new facility, which will be named after former CEO and company chairman Robert Davies III. The building has been designed with LEED Silver certification in mind, with energy efficient lighting and manufacturing equipment and offices that will be heated and cooled using geothermal energy. In addition, the company hopes to construct a rainwater collection system and will use solar power to heat some of the water used in the building. Overall, Church & Dwight hopes to meet its goals of 30% reduction in energy consumption and a 50% reduction in solid waste and industrial effluent for the site.

Once complete, the Davies Facility will house manufacturing, office, processing and warehouse space and will generate an estimated 300 jobs. The company plans to close its current laundry detergent manufacturing plant and distribution buildings in North Brunswick, NJ and consolidate its operations at the new facility, which will be expandable up to 1.9 million sf to meet the company’s future needs. The location, in Jackson Township, is about 100 miles from Philadelphia, close to the detergent bottle and ingredients suppliers as well as Interstates 81 and 83, US Route 30, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the local railroad, which has ties to the Norfolk Southern, CSX and Canadian Pacific lines.

According to Carter, a total of six states competed for the project, with the York site and a site in West Virginia emerging as frontrunners. The York site, which was purchased from locally based Stewart & Tate with the help of CBRE senior vice presidents Joseph McDermott and Mindy Lissner, was chosen due to its strategic location near rail and available utilities. The total cost of the project, including site acquisition, construction of the building and severance and transition expenses for the North Brunswick plant employees, is estimated to be about $170 million. The facility is due to be operational by the end of 2009.

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