The Hershey Company is awaiting approval from South Annville Township for its planned-in-advance expansion of the Annville Fulfillment Center (AFC).

The expansion had been part of the original plans, which showed a 330,000-square-foot proposed expansion area that was filled with gravel as part of original construction. The revised plans show a 287,104-square-foot expansion, about 15% smaller than originally proposed but also including 50 trailer storage spaces along the structure’s northern side.

Plans also show another 54 trailer storage spaces added alongside the existing warehouse facility (and three more added to the southeastern corner of the property) along with 249 additional employee parking spaces. A security fence around the facility would also be expanded.

A Hershey spokesperson said that while the company is seeking approval on the full expansion as outlined in the land development plan, it only expects to be proceeding on the addition of 40 parking spaces in the immediate future.

Hershey bought the 90-acre site from MFS in June 2019 for $9.2 million. Groundbreaking for the project took place in July 2020. The 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center became operational in October 2021, with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony in June 2022.

Hershey estimated total project costs at the time to be $178 million.

The facility is a digitally integrated manufacturing or production facility with attached warehouse space for storage. Currently production efforts are centered around the packaging of snack-size products from across Hershey’s manufacturing network into assortments for everyday and seasonal items.

Previously, AFC director Matthew Hawley told LebTown that total headcount between The Hershey Company and DHL, which together jointly operate the facility, is expected to be around 650 people by 2025. DHL employs the lion’s share of the facility workforce, with the Hershey employees primarily serving as Mechatronics Techs (a role focused on operating, testing, and maintaining electromechanical or robotic equipment).

Read More: Your guide to the warehouses under construction in South Annville Twp.

Hawley told LebTown last year that the AFC was “providing momentum and learnings for Hershey’s transformation to digitally integrated manufacturing,” a strategically important area for the company. During the company’s fourth quarter earnings call earlier this month, it announced a Advancing Agility & Automation productivity plan that aims to increase efficiency through workflow optimization and automation.

Analysts have reported that the initiative is expected to see Hershey reduce its headcount about 5% and incur about $60 million of severance costs in the process.

Through a spokesperson, Hershey declined to comment on whether it anticipates total local headcount for production/distribution jobs to be going up or down over the next 5 to 10 years, and also did not say how the initiative would impact which types of roles saw the most growth locally. The company also did not clarify whether the previously provided headcount estimates for AFC remained accurate.

The plans are currently expected to be reviewed by South Annville Township supervisors at the March meeting.

There is no timeline currently for the building expansion or additional trailer spaces and other new parking outside of the 40 new parking spaces, the spokesperson confirmed.

If approved, the land development plan would be bonded by Hershey, which will then have five years to complete the project.

Read More: South Annville board approves Garman Legacy’s project at Candler’s Pointe

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Davis Shaver is the publisher of LebTown. He grew up in Lebanon and currently lives outside of Hershey, PA.


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