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If taking New Burton Road or the POW/MIA Parkway between Dover and the Camden-Wyoming area, you may see some big changes happening along the typically quiet, railroad-lined stretch as early as the end of this year.
The Dover Planning Commission unanimously approved a 457,500 square-foot manufacturing plant at 1436 New Burton Road, west of Rodney Village, Oct. 19.
U.S. Corrugated — a Texas-based company that produces corrugated cardboard boxes— plans to build an $80 million plant with about 100 loading docks. It is expected to create 160 jobs with departments including research and development, design, and marketing and sales.
Mayor Robin Christiansen supported the company’s choice to come to Dover. “Not only does this bring highly skilled and well-paying jobs to our community, it helps to balance our economy as well as utilizing existing road and rail facilities,” he said.
Director of Planning and Inspections Dave Hugg said there was no opposition from the public or commission.
“It is kind of a big deal,” Hugg said. “New manufacturing of any kind is really the backbone of any local economy.”
The 37-acre teardrop shaped piece of land seemed to be the perfect fit for this type of project, Hugg said. It’s near the railroad to bring in raw materials, and -- after decades as active farmland -- the city had already rezoned it for an industrial project a few years ago.
The company plans to create a railroad spur, or a connection from the main rail line, that will allow easier unloading of raw materials directly into the plant.
The current owner is G&M WDC, a limited liability company owned by Lighthouse Construction in Magnolia. This company originally had plans to develop the land, but it never came to fruition, Hugg said.
U.S. Corrugated plans to close its plant in Newark, New Jersey, and establish this newer, bigger operation in the First State. Hugg said the company wants to move quickly with a goal of completing the project by early to mid 2021. People can expect to see some crews moving dirt in the next couple months.
This is the second big project to target the Dover area this fall.
The Kent Economic Partnership announced in late September that the former PPG paint factory near Cheswold is slated to house two manufacturing and warehouse companies in its 173,000-square-foot building.
Between the two companies, National Vinyl Products and USA Fulfillment Services, the project is expected to create 130 new jobs.
On a smaller scale, Union Wholesale, a warehousing company on Horsepond Road in Dover, received approval Oct. 19 to almost triple its size by adding a 9,000 square-foot building.
This comes after the property owner, a company called JACJIM, requested and received approval to annex into the city so the growing business could have access to Dover’s utilities, Hugg said.
Smaller projects like this one add diversity to the city’s economy, he said. “[Small warehousing companies] may be only a handful of jobs but they're also the kind of things that are important to a city,” he said.