CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia beat out several states and dozens of other potential sites for the $500-million Procter & Gamble manufacturing plant to be built along Interstate 81 in Berkeley County.
“They began with over 40 sites identified across the entire northeast and began a process with us over a year and a half ago,” state Commerce Secretary and Development Office executive director Keith Burdette said during a Tuesday news conference at the state capitol. “We competed against bigger and wealthier states with a lot more flat property than we have.”
The plant is planned for the Tabler Station Business Park in Martinsburg, which has grown to 600 acres since 2012. P&G will use approximately 450 acres for the project. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
In a Tuesday morning announcement, the company said the more than 1-million square-foot facility “will produce multiple P&G brands when it is fully operational.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin estimated the plant would create 1,000 construction jobs and 700 permanent positions.
“For years we have worked hard to make West Virginia an even stronger competitor for economic development investments, and companies around the world are noticing the changes we have made,” Tomblin said at the capitol.
Cincinnati-based P&G said the manufacturing facility “will be one of the most advanced and sustainable plants among P&G’s global manufacturing and supply-chain operations.
“This new plant will leverage economies of scale and standardized manufacturing platforms to P&G’s advantage by allowing us to produce multiple brands at one strategic location,” said Yannis Skoufalos, P&G’s global product supply officer, said in a company news release.
P&G has a new distribution center network with large plants in Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania and the Martinsburg facility is seen has a good fit.
“This will enable us to rapidly and efficiently serve retail customers and consumers throughout the eastern half of the United States, reaching 80 percent of them within one-day transit,” added Skoufalos.
Commerce Secretary Burdette said P&G hasn’t built many new manufacturing plants in the U.S. making Tuesday’s announcement that much more significant.
“This is only their second new facility to be constructed in the United States in 40 years (since 1971) and to say that this was a highly coveted project would be a gross understatement,” he said.
The investment has been talked about for some time in Berkeley County, it’s called Project Independence, although the specific company hasn’t been mentioned.
U.S. Sen.Joe Manchin praised the news:
“It is great news for the residents of Berkeley County, the Eastern Panhandle and the entire state of West Virginia that Procter & Gamble plans to move forward with Project Independence, a vast manufacturing project that will create hundreds of new jobs, boost economic development and undoubtedly diversify the Mountain State’s economic landscape.”
Among its 80 brands of consumer goods, P&G
manufactures Always, Ambi Pur, Ariel, Bounty, Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Downy, Fairy, Febreze, Gain, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Lenor, Olay, Oral-B, Pampers, Pantene, SK-II, Tide, Vicks, Wella and Whisper.