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Published: 9/17/2013

Report: Dayton has 'tremendous' logistics potential

THOMAS GNAU
DAYTON DAILY NEWS

For attracting logistics businesses, Dayton and Montgomery County have a lot to offer.

That was the uptake of a newly completed study by St. Onge Co., a York., Pa.-based supply chain consultant. The study was unveiled late last week, as the Montgomery County Transportation District (TID) board approved contracts for road work to a distribution site local leaders hope will draw a $90 million distribution hub to employ a hoped-for 1,000 workers.

California industrial real estate developer Prologis Inc. is expected to close a land acquisition deal at the Union Global Logistics Airpark this week. An as-yet unnamed Prologis client could build a 1.8-million-square-foot distribution center on 125 acres at the airpark near Dayton International Airport in northern Montgomery County.

The timing of the report isn’t lost on those who heard it. Erik Collins, Montgomery County development director, said much of what the report had to say affirms what area leaders have long believed. They point to the presence of Caterpillar Logistics, Syncreon, Collective Brands and other large logistics operations in the region.

“Certainly, up (interstates) 70 and 75, those are logical places, and that’s why we’ve had a lot of success up there,” Collins said.

“Montgomery County and the Greater Dayton area have significant opportunity to leverage the logistics characteristics of the area and the richness of locations potentially available for distribution,” the St. Onge report said.

Dayton fits into virtually all distribution networks for the continental United States, located near the crossroads of two well traveled interstates, within 600 miles of 67 percent of the U.S. population and within 600 miles of 60 percent of the nation’s manufacturing employment and 48 percent of the nation’s purchasing power, St. Onge said.

All major East Coast ocean and in-land ports are within 11 to 12 hours drive time of Dayton, the report said.

Steve Stanley, Montgomery County TID executive director, said the report supported long-held beliefs with objective data and suggested a way forward. Local leaders hoping to capitalize on regional assets must market the facts found in the report and “prospect” for companies that would be good fits with Dayton, he said.

“You have to have a fully developed work plan,” Stanley said.

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley said the report confirms the region’s geographic and workforce strengths, but it also pointed to a need for “focused training initiatives.”

One county initiative is to identify the top three job-producing sectors and beef up training for those, Foley said. “One of those areas will be logistics.”

The report also identified Progress Park in Moraine and Union’s own Global Logistics Airpark as two of the largest local industrial parks. And it cited a potential for speculative industrial development in the region.

“Certainly with all of the greenfield acreage that lies to the west of the (Dayton International) airport, with the infrastructure either going in or nearby, it positions that park quite positively,” Collins said, referring to the Union site.

The Moraine site — a General Motors assembly complex for decades before it closed in 2008 — benefits from robust rail access and pads that once supported buildings and could serve as foundations in the future.

What St. Onge said it learned about Dayton:

Dayton fits into virtually all distribution network configurations for the continental U.S.

Potential exists for speculative industrial real estate development here.

Dayton is a “business-friendly community with appropriate workforce to support logistics and distribution.”

Dayton is expected to stay “relatively congestion-free for industrial traffic and movement of physical goods.”

The area has “logistics support services” that should attract other industries.

Source: St. Onge Co.

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©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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