As Dixon Valve expands its presence in Kent County, its new headquarters will stand in the developing Chestertown Business Campus, an expansion that will open up more opportunities for economic growth, according to company and town officials.
The campus, springing up on the north side of Chestertown on Route 213 and developed by KRM Development, Dixon Valve’s real estate arm, is home to the company’s 60,000 square foot headquarters, 175,000 square foot distribution center and 100,000 square foot manufacturing building. A fourth site currently under construction will be a new YMCA center.
KRM Development President Kate Goodall Gray said that the additional land on the campus will present the opportunity to attract new businesses. There is room for about 300,000 square feet of more expansion, according to Gray.
“We do foresee that [the campus] can be an opportunity for to attract new businesses or retain businesses who want to grow within the county,” said Gray. “We’re looking to the future for that.”
According to Gray, there are no immediate plans for new spaces to be built on the campus and the next development will be an entrance for the property from Route 213.
The financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic led Dixon Valve, which employs about 350 people in the county, to “downsize” its organization, according to Gray. However, she held that the campus expansion will eventually lead to increased employment for the company in the area — a commitment to a town that she said is as much as a decision made with the heart as with the mind.
“[Chestertown] is a good place to be — we have a great workforce,” said Gray. “Being one of the larger employers in the area, we felt that it was wise to continue to grow here and be part of this community.”
The town and Dixon Valve worked closely to make the expansion possible, according to Chestertown Zoning Administrator Kees de Mooy. On top of annexing the property into town limits to make sure the facilities could use the town’s water and sewer, the pair moved to secure $1.5 million in state funding over four years for the project.
De Mooy elaborated on the importance of the partnership, saying that the company “is an integral part of Chestertown’s economy.”
“It is vitally important to Chestertown’s economy that Dixon keep its business world headquarters and one of its manufacturing facilities and distribution facilities here,” said de Mooy.
Before the property was purchased by Dixon Valve, most of it was part of a defunct bid to build a Walmart store that went through years of litigation and ultimately fell through, according to de Mooy.
While the pandemic slowed some of the progress of the construction, the headquarters and distribution center are fully functional and the manufacturing building is in its final stages of construction.
Dixon Valve donated its previous headquarters in downtown Chestertown to Washington College.