(Hazleton, PA – May 22, 2013) – American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., a leading specialty retailer with more than 920 stores in the U.S. and Canada that targets younger consumers, announced today that it is constructing a one million square foot direct-to-consumer distribution center in Humboldt Industrial Park, Hazle Township.
Today’s announcement was made by AEO during an earnings teleconference with investors and by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in a press statement that said the company will invest more than $160 million to construct the distribution center that will bring 369 new jobs to Greater Hazleton over the next four years. AEO will also employ around 600 more part-time workers during peak seasons.
“AEO’s decision to locate its newest distribution center in Humboldt Industrial Park is further testament to what many other companies located here already know… Greater Hazleton is a perfect location for industry, not only because of our ideal location in the Northeast, but also for our dedicated quality workforce,” said Kevin O’Donnell, CAN DO’s president.
“This project is another example of how our partnership with private developers such as Mericle Commercial Real Estate benefits our communities. When the new American Eagle Outfitters building is completed, it will be the largest industrial building in any of our four parks. Several similar large projects include OfficeMax, Archer Daniels Midland, Michael’s Handcrafts, AutoZone, Cargill Meat Solutions and the Amazon distribution center, which are also located in Humboldt Industrial Park,” he said. Mericle Commercial Real Estate owns this 128-acre land parcel in Humboldt and is preparing the large site for the start of construction, which will be done by AEO’s contractors.
AEO is a Pennsylvania-based company with headquarters near Pittsburgh. Its CEO, Robert Hanson, said, “Due to the growth of American Eagle Outfitters, we are delighted to launch this new distribution center that will bring additional jobs to the Pennsylvania community. We are pleased that AEO will have a greater presence in the Commonwealth given that our headquarters and Warrendale distribution center are located in Western Pennsylvania. We look forward to working with the state of Pennsylvania to build this new facility.”
In his press statement, Gov. Corbett said, “Supporting Pennsylvania business and giving them the tools they need to succeed in creating new job opportunities is a priority of my administration. Because of that support and partnership, American Eagle Outfitters is injecting a big boost into the Northeast Pennsylvania economy and creating 369 new jobs.”
CAN DO has been working with American Eagle Outfitters’ consultants and Mericle Commercial Real Estate to coordinate American Eagle’s needs with officials from Hazle Township. CAN DO Vice President of Sales and Marketing Joseph Lettiere said the township officials were instrumental in moving this project forward to meet AEO’s desire to begin construction quickly.
“The township officials assisted us on this project and their level of cooperation was commendable. We thank them for being a strong partner in our economic development efforts,” Lettiere said.
“We also want to acknowledge the efforts of the Penn’s Northeast organization, which first brought the project to Greater Hazleton through contacts with the Governor’s Action Team,” he said.
Lettiere said AEO was looking for a location that not only offers good access to market, but also was large enough to meet its needs and was ready for development. Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services purchased the land along Oak Ridge Road from CAN DO years ago and has been marketing the site to prospective companies. It was part of Mericle’s “Ready To Go Program” that offers sites that are ready for construction.
“When developers have some or most of the permitting in place, as well as grading and utilities to the site, it makes the land much more marketable, since companies can move faster to complete their project. That is what happened here,” Lettiere said.
The 127-acre site in Humboldt Industrial Park is part of CAN DO’s original Humboldt development and is part of the Keystone Opportunity Zone Program with tax incentives that run through 2019. O’Donnell said this is another great example of the success of the KOZ program. “These incentives are critical for attracting industry, not only to the Commonwealth, but also to Greater Hazleton. We again thank each of the governing bodies, including the township, Hazleton Area School District and Luzerne County, for their vision and faith in the KOZ program’s ability to help create new jobs and a future tax base for each of the bodies,” O’Donnell said.
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle Outfitters® and aerie® brands. The company operates more than 1,000 stores in North America and ships to 77 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle Outfitters and aerie merchandise also is available at approximately 50 international franchise stores in 13 countries.