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U.S. Corrugated receives $3.1M incentive package

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U.S. Corrugated plans on buying about 40-acres of land south of Dover to build a corrugated box facility, bringing 159 jobs to Kent County, | PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTH STAR CONSTRUCTION MANAGMENT INC.

WILMINGTON — U.S. Corrugated, the corrugated cardboard box manufacturing company, received a $3.1 million grant from the state as it looks to relocate its headquarters to Dover by the end of next year.

The incentive package awarded Monday from the taxpayer-backed Strategic Fund by the state’s appointed investment board, the Council of Development Finance, includes a capital expenditure grant worth up to $2.73 million and a job performance grant of $450,000 tied to the creation of 159 new state jobs.

U.S. Corrugated officials told Delaware Business Times last month it was planning a $80 million state-of-the-art plant to replace its 35-year-old New Jersey operation. The new 497,000-square-foot “super plant” will be located on a 37-acre parcel between Camden and Dover, bordered by New Burton Road and the POW/MIA Parkway.

Once operational in Dover, U.S. Corrugated would have the capacity to produce approximately 250% more boxes than the Newark, N.J., facility and bring in $120 million in additional revenue per year. The Dover Planning Commission passed the proposal last week.

If the U.S. Corrugated proposal clears remaining hurdles, it would bring 159 jobs, slightly more than previously reported. According to the CDF application filed by Four M, the parent company of U.S. Corrugated, the company plans to create 115 “helper” positions and 20 operators and maintenance technicians earning between $30,000 and $45,000 annually, and 24 professional or managerial positions earning $90,000 annually.

It is estimated that 101 jobs would be created within the first year of operations.

“Manufacturing has long been part of a strong middle class, and this is another win for Delaware and for Kent County,” Gov. John Carney said in a prepared statement. “This brings back to the area more of what I call the ‘new old’ jobs that for years have helped Delaware families put food on the table, pay the mortgage and send their kids to college.”

In addition to Strategic Fund incentives, the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Fund (TIIF) Council awarded the project $600,000 in June to improve signalization and entrance enhancements to support the Dover facility. 

U.S. Corrugated Chief Operating Officer Jeff Coleman pointed out that he and the company’s principal, Dennis Mehiel, also recognized potential from the nearby Dover Air Force Base, as 500 service men and women retire every year and are looking for work.

“The proximity to our existing customer base as well as the opportunity to grow customer base, along with proximity to a trained workforce and key equipment manufacturer suppliers, make Central Delaware the ideal place for our facility, particularly given market segments that are primed for new technology and changes,” Coleman said in a prepared statement.

Delaware, Kent County Economic Partnership, Dover officials, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Delmarva Central Railroad and many other community partners have been coordinating all efforts with the U.S. Corrugated on this proposal. Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said he was pleased with the company’s proposal as it would balance out the region’s offerings for the job market and infrastructure.

“Manufacturing jobs are the backbone of a sound local economy,” Christiansen said. “I am very pleased as not only would this bring highly skilled and well-paying jobs to our community, it would help balance our economy as well as utilize existing road and rail facilities.”

U.S. Corrugated’s planned arrival to Central Delaware would mark another win for manufacturing, as well as cementing its role in the Mid-Atlantic industry. With recent wins like Shoreline Vinyl, Duratec, Avalon Industries and International Container Corp., Kent County Economic Partnership Executive Director Linda Parkowski said the county was poised for more growth in the sector.

“Central Delaware is the perfect location for an advanced manufacturing facility such as U.S. Corrugated,” Parkowski said in a prepared statement. “With our strong manufacturing base and skilled workforce, we are looking forward to more manufacturers locating to the area.”

By Katie Tabeling

[email protected]

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with salary figures for potential U.S. Corrugated positions.

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