Urban Outfitters, a global retailer of clothing and decor founded in University City in 1970, is planning an unprecedented expansion of two of its production centers in the Philadelphia area. The $200 million investment announced recently by the company will result in a larger headquarters at Urban’s existing facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and a new, direct-to-customer fulfillment center in Gap, Lancaster County.
With 2,500 new jobs in the pipeline (2,000 new employees are expected to join the 250,000-square-foot headquarters building at the Navy Yard, while 500 will be hired at the new fulfillment center in Gap), Urban’s investment will have a positive economic impact in the region as it will more than double the company’s workforce in Pennsylvania. In fact, according to a Pennsylvania Independent news report, both projects will be developed under a state-run strategy that grants businesses a 10-year tax break for investing and creating new job opportunities in undeveloped or underdeveloped areas and communities.
Called Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ), the program started in 1999 and gradually developed throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 12 regions. As reported by the news source, KOZ created more than 15,000 jobs and retained another 9,000 in 2012 alone.
The $105 million distribution center planned for Gap will be built on a 52-acre property that Urban purchased for $9.04 million, Lancaster Online reports. It will have 1.2 million square feet, exactly the same size as Walmart’s recently announced fulfillment center in Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley. Urban will break ground on its third distribution facility at Brackbill Road and Route 30 in Gap in early November and is expected to open the e-commerce order-fulfillment center in the summer of 2015.