Sunday, April 01, 2001

Liz Claiborne distribution center latest addition to West Chester

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — Officials in this flourishing community will add to their growing collection of golden shovels as they welcome yet another major company with a groundbreaking this week.

        Liz Claiborne Inc. officials will be the latest to push the ceremonial shovels into West Chester's increasingly valuable turf as they break ground Thursday for a $55 million distribution center.

        But township officials point to asphalt — specifically an Interstate 75 interchange opened in 1998 — as the key for the township's booming growth into Ohio's third largest township, with an estimated tax-assessed property value of more than $1.5 billion.

        “We owe it all to the inter change,” said West Chester Trustees President David Tacosik, in reference to the Union Centre Boulevard interchange that feeds the township's expanding business district.

        “When you have the interstate access we have ... it presents a tremendous economic opportunity,” Mr. Tacosik said.

        The easy access to I-75, a national transportation corridor for business shipping, was one of the reasons Liz Claiborne officials decided to locate a major distribution center in southeastern Butler County.

        The Claiborne center will occupy a 42-acre site at Jaqueman Drive, just off Union Centre Boulevard, and is expected to create 290 jobs in a 900,000 square-foot facility that will include a retail outlet center. Claiborne designs and markets women's and men's high fashion apparel and accessories.

        Melissa Koehler, West Chester economic development director, said the Claiborne center will be one of the last large-scale businesses to be wooed to the community's business district.

        “The Liz Claiborne center rounds out our business portfolio as the final distribution center in our economic development plan,” Ms. Koehler said.

        “Now we want to accelerate our efforts in class A offices, mid- to high-tech development and light manufacturing,” she said.

        Once opened, the Claiborne center is expected to be the 10th largest employer in the township, she said.


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