Thursday, September 13, 2012
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FedEx to build new distribution hub in Roanoke

The building will consist of more than 100,000 square feet and cost more than $5 million.

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FedEx Ground plans to build a new distribution center to be constructed at the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology off U.S. 460 in northeast Roanoke.

In an email, Erin Truxal, a spokeswoman for FedEx Ground, said the new building will be about 103,000 square feet and is expected to be completed by early fall 2013.

"It will be larger than an existing station now serving the area, allowing us to continue to meet and exceed customer demands in the region," she said. "When the facility opens, positions will transfer from the existing station, and we will add jobs as necessary to support increased demand for service in the area."

She said FedEx Ground is working closely with developer SunCap Property Group to complete the project. FedEx Ground will lease the property, she said.

The existing facility is on Cook Drive in Salem. Tax records show that the Cook Drive property is about 39,618 square feet and is owned by Jersey Realty and Investment Co., which lists an address in Kansas City, Mo. The company could not be reached for comment.

Truxal said the Salem facility has more than 70 employees.

Florida-based building contractor Zirkelbach Construction applied Sept. 11 to the city of Roanoke for a building permit valued at more than $5.1 million that specifies a new FedEx Ground distribution center at the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology.

The permit address is for 3435 Chip Drive, where an existing building once housed Vishay Vitramon, a manufacturer of ceramic chip capacitors that closed its Roanoke facility in 2001. Bane Compton, the city's deputy building commissioner, confirmed that the building permit application calls for the building's demolition.

"The building plans will have to be approved before the demo of the existing building can start," Compton said.

Rob Ledger, the city's economic development manager, said a site consultant first contacted the Roanoke Regional Partnership in June 2010 to inquire about available properties.

"It took a while to go through the process," Ledger said.

Beth Doughty, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, said the organization "showed them some properties, and they worked on it for a long time."

Ledger said FedEx was interested in the property but did not believe the existing building could be converted.

"I'm extremely thrilled that they're taking this property and turning it into a vibrant facility," Ledger said.

Truxal said the new building will be part of a nationwide network expansion designed to "boost daily package volume capacity and further enhance the speed and service capabilities of the FedEx Ground network."

Other tenants of the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology include or have included, among others: an Orvis order fulfillment center; Maple Leaf Bakery; an Elizabeth Arden warehouse and logistics facility; a Semco manufacturing facility; and Cooper Crouse-Hinds.

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