Ollie’s $75M Distribution Project Reaches Milestone

Situated in Princeton, Ill., the facility is expected to open next year.

Ollie's distribution center opening ceremony.

The distribution center’s opening ceremony took place this week. Image courtesy of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc. has topped out its 615,000-square-foot distribution center in Princeton, Ill. Constructed by ARCO Design/Build, the approximately $75 million facility is anticipated to open next year.

“We are optimizing transportation for growth in the Midwest, so picking a location that optimizes transportation was a big part of the decision,” Eric van der Valk, chief operating officer of Ollie’s, told Commercial Property Executive.

He noted that while there are other locations that could have worked in terms of transportation, the city of Princeton and its people made this site ideal. “We picked Princeton because we really love the community and the support the state provided with incentives was compelling.”

Situated less than 3 miles from downtown Princeton, the center is within minutes of dining, retail and entertainment options. Interstate 80, Illinois Route 26 and U.S. Route 6 are nearby the site and offer easy access to the larger Illinois and Midwest territories. Chicago is approximately 115 miles east, accessible via I-55 and I-80.

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Most of the facility is dedicated toward warehouse storage, Valk said. The center will feature a sortation system, conveyor system and ‘pick modules’, or several-story tall faces for picking individual cartons so that products can be selected and shipped to source.

According to the City of Princeton, Ollie’s obtained the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credit for the distribution center. The company additionally purchased a more than 135-acre park in Princeton to contribute capital toward further development projects in the area.  

Ollie’s new facility supports the company’s goal of opening more than 1,050 store nationwide. The building is expected to employ more than 200 people, service nine existing Ollie’s Illinois locations, as well as an additional 150 to 175 stores in the Midwest.

“We just opened in Iowa City, Iowa, which is our 500th store in the chain and the first store we have opened in Iowa” said Valk. “We have a couple more planned for Iowa and a few more planned for Illinois in the next six to 12 months and were looking up into Wisconsin and Minnesota next.”

Chicago’s booming industrial scene

A recent CommercialEdge report shows that, through August, Chicago led industrial sales activity in the Midwest. Further, the area continues to rank first for industrial development on a square footage basis, with 23.4 million square feet of space underway.

In the Chicago-area, the Woodridge Industrial Center is being developed in Woodridge, Ill. The 217,000-square-foot facility, situated in the I-55 Corridor, is expected to come online late next year.

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