tim rogers (right), executive director of the salina airport authority, announces tuesday afternoon during a press conference that fedex will build a sorting and distribution center at the airport. (photo by tom dorsey / salina journal) | buy journal photos


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salina to get new fedex facility


by tim unruh salina journal

a project known for months only by a code name was revealed to the public tuesday afternoon.

in a short conference, tim rogers, salina airport authority executive director, confirmed speculation that project riviera is the code name for a new freight and sorting location for fedex ground.

until recently, a confidentiality agreement prevented the salina economic development team from revealing the name of the business, rogers said.

over the next year, kansas city, mo.-based jones development co. will build a 32,000-square-foot station on 6.77 acres of land just west of salina vortex in the airport industrial center.

the airport authority sold that “development-ready” land to jones development in april for $16,000 an acre.

jones development will lease the building to fedex ground when it’s ready for business in july 2011. the new building will replace a fedex ground station at 225 gold.

“this is a local pickup and delivery station,” said david westrick, spokesman for fedex ground in pittsburgh, pa.

“trailers come in early in the morning, and packages are sorted onto local delivery vans that then dispatch in the local community,” he said.

expansion in salina and elsewhere is necessary to accommodate fedex ground’s growth from 2.3 million packages daily prior to 2005 to more than 3.5 million a day, westrick said.

since 2005, the company has opened nine major hub sorting facilities and expanded or relocated more than 500 local pickup and delivery stations like the one in salina, he said.

fedex ground in salina will transfer 60 to 65 jobs to the new station, rogers said. there is ample space on the land to add 16,000 square feet of space to the building, he said, and possibly more jobs.

“we have been a growing company for most of our history. we certainly want to plan for growth. we make sure that potential is there,” westrick said. “there needs to be a demand for the service before we do that.”

the relocation fits with the local economic development mission to retain and grow jobs, rogers said. members of the economic development team were at the press conference.

“projects like this one just don’t happen overnight,” he said. “it’s a significant capital improvement for the community. it adds the ability to retain and grow jobs. improving logistics and freight is so important to manufacturers to ship all over the world.”

the fedex ground project began in the fall 2008 when a site selection firm approached the salina area chamber of commerce, looking for 30,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in salina, rogers said. a down economy suspended the search until fall 2009.

“these things take a long time in some cases,” said dennis lauver, president and ceo of the chamber.

success often requires the collaboration of the team, lauver said, which includes the city, saline county, airport authority and chamber.

“what happened today was an outcome of teamwork,” he said.

this project did not require economic incentives, rogers said, but he added that the teamwork in salina “is a tremendous incentive.”

n reporter tim unruh can be reached at 822-1419 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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