Business, jobs coming: Officials break ground at NorthPoint development

A tenant has been secured for a 1 million-square-foot warehouse building going up off Wesel Boulevard, and the business could be running in the spring.

“We actually have an executed lease for the entire Building 1,” Jerermy Michael, project manager for NorthPoint Development, said after a groundbreaking ceremony at the worksite Wednesday.

The tenant has opted to remain unidentified at this time, Michael said. A public announcement could come in the next few weeks.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz, U.S. Rep. David Trone, state lawmakers, city and county officials and a host of others attended Wednesday’s groundbreaking for the Hagerstown Logistics Center. Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey acted as master of ceremonies.

Missouri-based NorthPoint plans to build a total of 2.2 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space that will be divided among four buildings.

Officials estimate the development will create 1,500 jobs.

The investment is estimated at about $140 million, Michael said. Further work to widen Wesel Boulevard and to outfit Building 1 will push that figure above $150 million.

NorthPoint officials said previously that they believe their space will be used by clients they have worked with in the past, such as Adidas, Amazon, BNSF Railway, Ford and General Motors.

Michael said Building 1 should be finished in March and the tenant should be operating by early April, if all goes well.

Last month the city issued NorthPoint a permit for the tenant fit-out, including office and warehouse improvements, for the large building at 1115 Wesel Blvd. The project includes partitions, doors, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and other work with an estimated cost of $21.9 million, according to the permit.

Chicago-based Clayco is leading the construction.

The development is in a state-designated Enterprise Zone. In such zones, economic incentives are made available to new and existing businesses that expand through investments and/or job creation.

The economic incentives “absolutely matter,” Michael said. “For us, as a speculative developer, it’s critical to attract the tenants.”

NorthPoint’s plans call for two large buildings on one side of Wesel Boulevard and two smaller buildings on the other side.

Two of the buildings, Nos. 1 and 3, are under construction now. The largest, which the unidentified tenant will occupy, covers more than 1 million square feet. The other, across the road, covers about 177,000 square feet.

On Tuesday night, the Hagerstown Planning Commission approved a site plan for Building No. 2. The 798,000-square-foot structure will be on the same side of Wesel Boulevard as the large building, according to Stephen Bockmiller, city development planner and zoning administrator.

The commission also approved a forest conservation plan. Under that plan, 17.36 acres of existing forest will be kept, Bockmiller said.

‘Just the beginning’

Several of Wednesday’s speakers, including Michael, praised the teamwork that has gone into the project. Two tents provided some shade for people who sat in folding chairs that were spaced apart to keep within social distancing guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael thanked Maryland, Washington County and Hagerstown officials and staff members who have worked on the project.

He quoted a business adage that “capital (investment) goes where capital is wanted.”

“We’re excited to be a part of the community,” he said.

Rutherford noted the pandemic’s effects on the economy.

“It’s been very frustrating and at the same time heartbreaking,” he said.

But he said the development along Wesel Boulevard is indicative of the economic comeback Maryland is making.

“We couldn’t be more exited about this project and what is means to the state of Maryland,” Rutherford said.

Schulz took up a similar theme and praised the efforts of local economic development officials.

“I have a funny feeling that this is just the beginning,” she said.

Trone recalled that he spoke with Nathaniel Hagedorn, NorthPoint’s CEO, more than a year ago. Trone praised the area’s location, workforce and welcoming business climate as shown by efforts of state, county and city government.

“We’ve got everybody working together,” he said.

To mark the event, NorthPoint received other formal congratulations, including salutes from the city, presented by the mayor; the Washington County Commissioners, presented by Commissioners Jeff Cline and Randy Wagner; Washington County’s delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, presented by Sen. Paul Corderman and Del. Neil Parrott; and the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, presented by Paul Frey.

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