BUILDING SALEM: Washington distributor putting up $55 million Mill Creek operation

Editor’s note: Building Salem is a twice-monthly feature from Salem Reporter highlighting building projects around the city. Is there a building going up you’re curious about? Let us know by emailing [email protected].

Name: Gensco distribution center and manufacturing facility

Project type: New construction, industrial

Location: 4710 Mill Creek Dr. S.E. (Southeast Mill Creek Association)

The need: Gensco is a family-owned Washington company that is a wholesale HVAC distributor and a sheet metal manufacturer called Columbia Manufacturing. The company wanted a location close to Interstate 5 to support its growing operations in Oregon and southwest Washington, said Olen Storaasli, chief financial officer. 

Cost: $55 million

Estimated completion: Spring 2025

Size: 479,000 square feet, including about 100,000 square feet for manufacturing, as well as distribution and office space.

Economic impact: Gensco expects the facility to have 50-60 jobs at opening, growing to 100 or more within the first year. About 40% of those jobs will be union metal fabrication jobs.

Description: The Gensco distribution center will give a growing company more space to distribute HVAC products across the Pacific Northwest.

Currently, Gensco has a Salem office, but its distribution is primarily out of a center at its corporate headquarters in Fife, Washington, Storaasli said. With recent growth, the company has had to lease space to accommodate orders from customers.

“This new distribution center and manufacturing facility will provide us with enough capacity to serve our customers more effectively today, and well into the future. It also improves our flexibility and ultimately, increases the speed at which we can replenish our branches by removing internal bottlenecks – all which allow us to better meet the needs of our customers,” he said.

The Salem location was chosen for its proximity to the freeway, as well as Gensco’s success working with the city of Salem on past projects.

The Gensco facility is the latest development in the Mill Creek Corporate Center, an industrial site where over the past decade city officials and economic development groups have promoted the construction of distribution centers and warehouses.

The area also includes an Amazon distribution warehouse and a Dollar General warehouse under construction.

Scannell Properties, a commercial real estate developer, broke ground on the Gensco site in November. The company is also building the neighboring Dollar General warehouse.

“Salem continues to prove to the market that its location provides a strategic advantage for users due to strong labor analytics and proximity to I-5,” said Jake Kurth, development manager at Scannell Properties, in a press release.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.