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NJ Cold Cuts Plant, Destroyed by Fire, Will Be Rebuilt in NE Philadelphia

By Mike DeNardo and Cleve Bryan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Following that spectacular fire that destroyed the Dietz & Watson distribution center in Delanco, NJ last September (see related stories), the company has announced plans to build on a site it had been eyeing for ten years -- right next to its headquarters in the Tacony section of Philadelphia.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia offered grants, loans, and tax breaks to lure the meat and cheese processing company in, but CEO Louis Eni says the company didn't simply go where the greatest incentives were.

He says it was a business decision to locate the company's distribution center next to the company headquarters.  The location will allow Dietz & Watson to use conveyors to move meats directly from the production facility into storage, without having make 200 truck trips each week across the Delaware River.

Construction on the $50-million project to build the new center should begin in September or October, with completion expected in the summer of 2015.

Eni pledged that no employees would lose their jobs because of the fire.  He says all are working at other company facilities, including Vineland, and he says they'll be offered jobs in Philadelphia.

The facility will create about 160 new jobs in addition to the 700 jobs at the existing plant.

Delanco Township Mayor Bill Dillenbeck says, "We're terribly disappointed and devastated by the decision they made and not coming to Delanco but it's well understandable from the business sense."

According to Township records Dietz and Watson paid about $251,000 in taxes last year. The total tax revenue for the township is about $3.6M.

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