National deli meat company comes home to Philly

Posted: June 26, 2014

WHAT IT LOST to New Jersey in 76ers practices, Philadelphia has gained in bologna.

Deli giant Dietz & Watson has agreed to expand its national headquarters in Northeast Philly to replace a South Jersey food warehouse destroyed by a fire last fall.

The 75-year-old, fourth-generation Philadelphia company will build a new distribution plant in Tacony, officials announced yesterday.

Councilman Bobby Henon, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. president John Grady said that Dietz & Watson will spend nearly $50 million on a new 200,000-square-foot distribution campus, nearly doubling its current footprint.

The expansion will add about 20 acres to the company's 22 acres along Tacony's Delaware River waterfront. The project will transfer 158 jobs from New Jersey to Philadelphia and retain about 700 current jobs at that site.

"This is creating and retaining family-sustaining jobs in Northeast Philadelphia," said Henon, who represents the district.

"We have the opportunity here that we have never seen before. Now, we have a business that will grow here, stay here and with access to the river."

Part of the incentive to move to the city was the premise of a state-of-the-art conveyor system that will move deli meats and cheeses from Dietz & Watson's kitchen to its storage containers. Grady said this will eliminate more than 200 weekly truck trips over the Delaware River.

The project is part of a 73-acre PIDC purchase of properties from the state, the city and the private owner of the former Frankford Arsenal.

PIDC sold 20 acres to Dietz & Watson, with additional acreage going to the state for creation of a boat launch, public riverfront trails and open spaces. About 22 acres will be sold to private buyers for future commercial or industrial developments.

Construction is expected to start this summer.

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