Economic Development

TJX Begins Site Work for Lordstown Warehouse

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Work quietly got underway last month on the long-anticipated regional distribution center for TJX Companies Inc.

Construction of the distribution hub, which is expected to cost up to $170 million to build, began last month, confirmed Erika Tower, TJX assistant vice president and spokeswoman for HomeGoods Inc., the TJX subsidiary that the warehouse will serve.

Work on the site began about a week ago, Mayor Arno Hill said Thursday evening.

“They’re moving forward at quite a rapid pace,” he reported. Many of the trees already are cleared from much of the site, except for those in the conservancy area. “And they’ve moved a lot of dirt,” he added.

Rather than conducting a ceremonial groundbreaking event, the company will do something at a later date, Tower said in an email responding to a request for comment.

“We typically take a pretty quiet approach,” she said. “As we mentioned previously, we had expected to begin site work last month and that is underway.”

Beyond that, she declined to provide further details regarding the 1.2 million-square foot warehouse and distribution center, which the company earlier had projected to be complete in 2020. According to its request for a 10-year, 75% tax abatement that the Trumbull County Board of Commissioners approved in March, TJX expects to create 1,000 full-time jobs at the site by the end of 2024. Officials have projected payroll at between $27 million and $30 million.

Physical work on the project follows more than a year of government actions, environmental reviews and often-acrimonious debate regarding the project, which first came to light in March 2018. Officials with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber had been working with TJX since early 2016.

“It was a long process to get where we are today and there is definitely a sense of relief that the site clearing had begun,” said Sarah Boyarko, the chamber’s chief operating officer.

Challenges and protests by a group of village residents opposed to rezoning the 290 acres where TJX proposed building the distribution center at one point led the company to withdraw its application to rezone the land. After village residents upheld the rezoning in an August referendum, opponents unsuccessfully pursued a court challenge to the state law that permitted the referendum to take place.

In late March, TJX completed the purchase of the property for the warehouse.

Hill welcomed the new jobs and revenue to Lordstown, which is reeling from the March idling of the General Motors plant there. The village is getting to the point where it is a “retirement community,” based on its graying population, he remarked.

“Retirees don’t pay the village bills and we run our village off the village income tax,” he said. It’s good to have jobs coming in to offset the loss of the GM plant, he said, though he hasn’t given up hope on it yet.

The idled General Motors Lordstown complex can be seen from the land being prepared for the TJX HomeGoods distribution hub.

Though not approached personally, the mayor also said he has heard about other parties who were interested in locating in the village but had waited to see what happened with the zone change.

Boyarko was unsure how long the site-clearing work would take or when steel would go up on the site, but she was encouraged to see the earth-moving equipment on-site to begin the construction process.

“I am sure that things will progress quickly from this point forward,” Boyarko said. “I can’t wait to see the building take shape in the coming months.”

Pictured above: Earth-moving equipment is on-site and work has begun on the land for the TJX HomeGoods distribution center.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.