Hershey Company says plans for new manufacturing plant remain up in the air

The Hershey Company moved ahead Thursday with plans to build a new manufacturing facility near its Derry Township headquarters.

The company submitted proposed sketch plans at the Derry Township Planning Commission meeting for a manufacturing facility and accompanying warehouse with office space, coined “Project Milton”

The Fortune 500 company wants to develop a nearly 250,000 square-foot building north of the intersection of University Drive and Route 422. Hershey is requesting to build the facility on 55 acres it owns mostly on open fields surrounding the former Friendly’s restaurant in Derry Township.

But the company, known for its candy line including Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kat bars, isn’t designating how it will use the facility, which sits adjacent to the HB Reese Candy Company plant.

“We don’t know, it really is conceptual. We have this land. What are we going to do with it?” said Kenny Hinebaugh, a project manager for the company. “We’re obviously growing, we’re expanding.”

The land is also close to the company’s Hershey West plant and technical center.

Hinebaugh said the company decided to investigate options after Friendly’s closed last summer. Hershey worked with Derry Township on the sketch plans, an early part of the approval process that doesn’t require official township action.

The next step involves Hershey filing preliminary land development plans with the township. At least one resident in attendance at the meeting voiced concerns about the project.

Teresa Peschel said she’s worried about increased traffic and the possibility that constructing such a large building will lead to additional flooding. She noted traffic picks up in her neighborhood during shift changes at the Reese’s plant and she’s worried a new plant would generate more traffic.

“Unless you are rigorously monitoring traffic, it will fan out to my neighborhood,” she said.

Ron Secary, principal engineer for Pennoni engineering company, cautioned traffic studies will be conducted and building plans will take stormwater runoff into account.

Hershey’s plans also include three entrances, including two that will be designated for tractor trailers, and a mixed use trail on the property.

Earlier this week, Allison Kleinfelter, senior director of Corporate Communications for the Hershey Company, stressed the project is in the conceptual stages and that more details, including a construction timeline, are expected to be announced in the fall.

“Hershey continues to grow at a strong pace, and we continue to invest in our supply chain to scale our capacity to meet growing consumer demand for our products,” she said.

The company appears to be well positioned. Hershey reported growth in the first quarter of this year with revenue rising by 16.1% due to demand for chocolates and candies. Last year,Hershey reported net sales of $8,971.3 million, an increase of 10.1%.

“We delivered strong double-digit sales and earnings growth with ongoing momentum across business units,” said Michele Buck, Hershey’s president and CEO, earlier this year. “Our start, sustained consumer reluctance and increased visibility into our recently acquired businesses give us to increase our full-year net sales and earnings outlook despite the confidence an challenging and inflationary environment.”


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