The Kroger Co., the nation’s largest grocery retailer, today announced plans to construct a high-tech fulfillment center in Frederick County. Kroger is partnering with the Ocado Group, the world’s largest online grocery retailer, which will provide and maintain the digital and robotic equipment used at the facility.
The project, which will include construction to an existing facility at 7106 Geoffrey Way, will develop a 350,000 square-foot robotic customer fulfillment center to serve the region and position the company for future growth. Upon completion of construction, 400 new jobs will be created with up to 100 more added later as the facility’s service area expands.
“This is excellent news for Frederick County,” Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said. “We are thrilled to welcome Kroger and Ocado. Their high-tech innovative business will bring life to a vacant distribution facility, will add hundreds of new jobs, and make an investment of tens of millions of dollars in our community.
According to a press release:
“County staff worked closely with the businesses for many months, facilitating a smooth process for permits, water and sewer, and other details,” Gardner said. “We were pleased to fast-track the project and want Kroger and Ocado to know our support will be ongoing. We are pleased to welcome them to our growing e-commerce business community. Frederick County is a great place to do business.”
“Kroger is incredibly excited to construct one of our industry-leading Customer Fulfillment Centers in Frederick, MD, in relationship with Ocado to bring fresh food to our customers faster than ever before,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of supply chain, manufacturing and sourcing. “Through our strategic partnership, we are engineering a model for the region, leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience.”
“We are excited to bring Kroger and Ocado’s latest automated warehouse to Frederick. This site will be key to delivering amazing grocery experiences to households across Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. It will also create fantastic job opportunities for engineers looking to work alongside state-of-the-art robotics and automation.” said Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions “On going live, the warehouse will be a key component of the seamless fulfilment ecosystem that Kroger is developing for customers across the United States. Ocado’s proven technology will allow Kroger to achieve the lowest cost-to-serve in the market, combined with the best freshness, accuracy and service.”
The automated facility will be equipped with robots that move along the top of a grid system, selecting grocery-filled crates that are later sorted and assembled into orders. The shed will allow Kroger to tackle the online market, providing automatic fulfillment and home delivery to customers throughout the East Coast. The partnership is committed to building 20 robotic centers throughout the country; Maryland is the sixth shed location to be announced.
To assist with project costs, the Maryland Department of Commerce has approved a $2 million conditional loan through Advantage Maryland, formerly the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF).
Additionally, Frederick County has agreed to provide up to $150,000 in permit fees, and the project is eligible for an estimated $5 million in county commercial and industrial tax credits over the next ten years. The companies are also eligible for local workforce services and state tax credits, including Maryland’s Job Creation Tax Credit.
Read the full press release for more information.