While LEDCO celebrated many wins and milestones in 2021, one of the most significant and historic moments came when Gap Inc. announced plans to open a new state-of-the-art Customer Experience Center in Longview. The $140 million investment by Gap Inc. will lead to the creation of more than 1,000 full-time jobs over the next five years and at least 1,000 part-time and seasonal jobs by 2026.
The announcement with Gap Inc. marked a historic, game-changing moment for Longview and served as a hallmark achievement for a year filled with other accomplishments for the Longview Economic Development Corporation.
The partnership with Gap Inc. is monumental,” Longview Mayor Andy Mack said. “This is the first e-commerce industry we’ve had here and its impact to our community will be exponential.”
In February 2021, LEDCO and Gap Inc. announced that Gap Inc. planned to build a new state-of-the-art Customer Experience Center in Longview that will enable the company to deliver inventory faster and more efficiently to customers across the country.
Gap Inc., which serves as the parent company for retail brands including Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athelta, plans to invest $140 million into the Longview facility. The new Customer Experience Center will better enable Gap Inc. to meet a rising customer demand for online shopping and further fuel its growing omnichannel business. Specifically, the facility will support Old Navy’s growing business with the capability to ship as many as 1 million items per day.
The 850,000-square-foot campus is currently under construction with plans to open later in 2022. According to Gap Inc., the new facility will feature industry-leading technology that will assist with sorting, retrieving and wrapping items for shipment.
Gap Inc. anticipates the new center will create more than 500 full-time jobs in Longview by the end of 2023 and will grow to create more than 1,000 full-time jobs in the city over the next five years. Additionally, the company expects to create more than 1,000 part-time and seasonal jobs by 2026.
While the future is bright, much work went into bringing the project to Longview.
LEDCO President and CEO Wayne Mansfield recalled receiving a phone call a few weeks before Thanksgiving when a group of investors asked to meet to consider locating at an existing building in Longview. While that location wasn’t the right fit, the investors agreed that Longview was the right place.
According to Gap Inc., the company found Longview to be an ideal location for many reasons. The city could meet Gap Inc.’s aggressive schedule, possesses a strong labor force to meet the company’s operational requirements, and offers a financially sound incentive package benefitting both the community and the business.
Mack also recalled some of the quality-of-life features Longview possesses, such as good educational and healthcare systems and a robust parks and trails system. “Those factors contribute to overall quality of life, and most companies want to locate in a community where they believe their employees will be happy to live,” he said.
Longview met all Gap Inc.’s needs and more, so the focus shifted from an already existing building to vacant land in the city’s North Business Park, where the company ultimately decided to build a new facility.
“We’re really excited for this opportunity,” Mansfield said.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said not only is Gap Inc.’s location good for the City of Longview, but it is also a benefit to the whole county and to greater East Texas.
“I have always believed, and I continue to believe that Gregg County and Longview are a regional leader in not only healthcare and shopping and a great place to live, but also in providing jobs and a great family environment and a great place to live and go to school,” Stoudt said. “Those things don’t just happen; they happen because of great leadership.”
The jobs created by Gap Inc.’s Customer Experience Center will benefit the overall East Texas community, Stoudt noted. Meanwhile, the revenue impacts are monumental.
“It’s huge,” Mack added. “The jobs this will create, sales tax revenue, the property tax revenue, the other businesses that will come to Longview because of Gap Inc.’s brand presence in the community. This is a great moment for Longview in every possible way.”
As we look to deliver on ourthree-year strategy and increase the size and contribution of our online business, we needed to expand our fulfillment network to provide a great experience for our customers today and ensure we have the ability to grow in the future,” said Shawn Curran, Chief Growth Officer for Old Navy. “We are thrilled to join the Longview community and look forward to developing a facility that will provide employment opportunities and job training to work alongside cutting-edge technology.”
Aviagen is a global poultry breeding company with a mission to help its customers supply sustainable, affordable and nutritious protein to their growing communities. The company values “breeding sustainability,” and therefore Aviagen implements efficiencies that make commercial chicken production environmentally and socially responsible and economically beneficial to producers, while at the same time promoting bird performance, health and welfare.
According to Aviagen, it supplies “day-oldgrandparent and parent stock chicks to customers in more than 100 countries worldwide under the Arbor Acres, Indian River and Ross brand names.”
The LEDCO Board of Directors announced in late May that it had approved a performance contract with Aviagen to bring a new facility to Longview. Aviagen will make a capital investment of $27 million and create at least 65 new jobs.
Aviagen is working to build a high-tech, 50,000 to 60,000-square-foot facility on approximately 15.7 acres in the Longview Business Park. It is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.
Mack said he also is proud that Aviagen chose to locate its newest facility in Longview.
“It is encouraging to see our business parks continue to attract new industry, significant investment and new jobs into the community,” he said.
The two major projects, which will bring many new jobs to the area, topped off a milestone 30th anniversary year for the Longview Economic Development Corporation. LEDCO was created by Longview voters in 1991 for the purpose of creating and retaining jobs in the community.
LEDCO owns two business parks in Longview with 1,200 acres of land. It is overseen by an independent Board of Directors appointed by the mayor and Longview City Council. The board consists of five voting members and five non-voting members.
In the past 30 years, LEDCO has entered into 173 performance agreements with companies all over Longview. From those agreements, 8,585 jobs have been created, bringing over $690MM in capital investment to the City of Longview.
From sales and property tax revenues to job creation, Mack said LEDCO has played and will continue to play a vital role in the community for decades to come as it continues to diversify and expand Longview’s economy and helps improve the quality of life for the city’s residents.
Even throughout the pandemic, our North American customers have enjoyed a strong demand for healthy, affordable chicken meat,” said Marc de Beer, president of Aviagen North America. “We are committed to securing the supply of quality parent stock to help our customers put food on the tables of families throughout North America and around the world. The new hatchery in Longview will play a big part in this goal.”
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