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Dietz & Watson Invests $50 Million In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tacony-Neighborhood Food Distribution Campus

Area Development Online News Desk (06/24/2014)
Dietz & Watson, a fourth generation family-owned food manufacturer, will nearly double its footprint in the Tacony section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, creating 158 new jobs at its proposed food distribution campus.

A national producer and distributor of deli meats and cheeses, Dietz & Watson in conjunction with Black Bear Distribution, will invest more than $50 million to create its new Tacony food campus by constructing a 200,000-square-foot distribution center, enhancing its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility and building a new fleet-maintenance facility.

A state-of-the-art conveyer system will efficiently transfer food from its kitchens directly to new storage facilities, eliminating more than 200 weekly truck trips over the Delaware River, reducing congestion and pollution. The expansion will add approximately 20 acres to their existing 22 acres along the North Delaware waterfront and has been facilitated through the efforts to orchestrate a 73-acre land assemblage from properties owned by the Commonwealth, the City and the private owner of the adjacent former Frankford Arsenal. Of this new assemblage, 20 acres will be acquired by Dietz and Watson for their expansion; 23 acres will support the Commonwealth's boat launch, expanded public riverfront trails and open space; and the remaining 30 acres will be available for future commercial and industrial development.

Dietz & Watson will add 48 manufacturing, sales and administrative jobs and Black Bear Distribution, LLC, an affiliated logistics firm established by Dietz & Watson, will relocate 110 jobs from Delanco, New Jersey, in the wake of a devastating fire in September 2013 that destroyed the company’s national distribution center.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our family-owned company to grow in the city and state that has supported us for 75 years,” said Louis Eni, President/CEO of Dietz & Watson and Grandson of Founder Gottlieb Dietz. “We had our eye on this property nearly 10 years ago, when we first began plans to build a large distribution center, but it wasn’t available at the time. The people of Delanco, New Jersey, welcomed us and for that we will forever be grateful. The fire was a tragedy and the resulting clean up impacted a lot of our neighbors. We thank them for their patience and support. Our family thought long and hard about the decision to leave New Jersey. But in the end, we believe it’s the right decision for our employees, our customers and for the future of our company.

Dietz & Watson received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development including a $2 million Pennsylvania First Program grant and a $125,000 Guaranteed Free Training grant which will be used for skills training for both new and incumbent employees.

The company is also eligible to apply for a $5 million loan from the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund, a $2.25 million loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority and $5 million in Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program funds. The company has accepted the funding proposal, but must still apply for the funds and agree to the terms prior to award receipt.

The project was a collaborative effort between the Governor’s Action Team, PIDC, the Philadelphia Department of Commerce and the Office of Philadelphia City Councilman, Bobby Henon.

We are thrilled to be able to help Dietz & Watson, a venerable hometown family business, continue to grow here in Philadelphia,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “For nearly 60 years, PIDC has been a go-to resource for business growth and development in Philadelphia. This partnership with the Eni family and City and State officials has resulted in a transaction that will support Dietz and Watson’s physical expansion and new employment in Tacony, make new land available for additional manufacturing and industrial investment and extend waterfront recreation along the banks of the Delaware River, a win all around for the City, the Commonwealth, local residents and the business community.”

“Our effort to capitalize on the nationwide manufacturing renaissance starts with the long-abandoned industrial parcels in our own backyard,” said Councilman Bobby Henon. “By attracting the right businesses for these spaces we can make Philadelphia a manufacturing center once again. Dietz and Watson is the perfect fit for Tacony. I’m thankful for everyone involved and their focus on bringing family-sustaining jobs back to our neighborhoods.”

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