Solo Cup maker to relocate to Delaware City, bring 60+ jobs
DELAWARE CITY – The first major tenant of the Delaware City Logistics Center is Dart Container, maker of the ubiquitous red Solo Cup as well as other Styrofoam and plastic food packaging containers and cutlery.
The distribution center will create between 60 and 70 positions in Delaware, according to Margo Burrage, the Michigan-based company’s spokeswoman. Some of those positions will be filled by staff transferring from other Dart facilities, including two in Maryland slated for closure later this year. The remainder of the positions will be open for recruitment and hiring later this month.
Dart will occupy the more than 1 million-square-foot building located at 2451 Bear Corbit Road, near the Wrangle Hill Road interchange on Route 1. The warehouse, one of the largest in the state, has 154 loading docks and 218 tractor-trailer parking spaces.
Dart’s new home is part of the logistics park being built by NorthPoint Development, which is redeveloping the 190-acre property formerly owned by Dutch manufacturer AkzoNobel into a complex of industrial buildings totaling 2 million square feet of distribution and fulfillment space. The Kansas City-based developer bought the land in an estimated $10 million sale last summer, according to county land records.
Burrage told Delaware Business Times that the company does not anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic to affect its timeline for opening the facility this fall.
“Dart has implemented comprehensive protocols at all our facilities to maintain safe and healthy work environments for all employees, vendors and visitors and will continue to use the same approach as we scale up our Delaware operations,” she said in a statement.
In a Thursday statement, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer celebrated the news of Dart’s impending arrival.
“At a time when unemployment is at historic highs, this news brings hope and optimism to dozens of families in our community,” Meyer said. “I am especially proud of the hard work our county’s land use and public works teams have done, from fast tracking the site through our JobsNow program, to expediting the design and construction of new wastewater infrastructure, all to better serve this new facility and future redevelopment in the area. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Dart Container in the future.”
The news of Dart’s arrival doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as it announced in August 2019 that it was closing distribution centers in Hampstead and Havre de Grace, Md., in 2020 to move to a consolidated site in Delaware. The Delaware City Logistics Center is only 7 miles from the Maryland state line.
“Both [Maryland] facilities currently continue to operate. We expect to wind down operations later this year,” Burrage said of the warehouses that reportedly employ about 90 employees.
The company decided to close the two Maryland facilities, in part, because the state legislature approved a bill that banned the use of Styrofoam in food packaging products beginning July 1, 2020 – the first state to enact that prohibition, citing the environmental benefit. Dart lobbied Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to mitigate the law’s impacts on its business, but was ultimately unsuccessful, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Dart had reportedly already been considering consolidating its inventory to a single location for its East Coast customers when the law was passed. “It did not encourage us to keep our distribution centers in Maryland,” the company told the Sun.
Dart will be the largest tenant in the Delaware City Logistics Park, but NorthPoint plans to also build a 577,000-square-foot building and a 217,000-square-foot building in the next year. Both of those buildings are being marketed by Collier International as multi-tenant builds, suggesting that one large user may not occupy them.
The logistics park is part of a growing trend of growth in the sector for New Castle County. The site is just to the east of a new $37 million distribution center opened by Dot Foods, the country’s largest food redistributor. A few miles to the north, Stoltz Real Estate Partners is proposing to build two warehouses measuring more than 1 million square feet each.
In Newport, Amazon has signed a lease for a multi-story fulfillment center measuring 3.7 million square feet and in Claymont, mixed-use redevelopment plans for the Evraz steel mill include more than 300,000 square feet of warehousing.
By Jacob Owens