Jeff Foster Trucking Buys Georgia-Pacific Site
Jeff Foster Buys Former Hardboard Manufacturing Facility in Duluth
Twin Ports trucking company owner Jeff Foster Monday announced that he and wife Toni have purchased the former Georgia-Pacific Corp. hardboard manufacturing facility on Duluth’s Bayfront and will enhance the property for use as a warehouse and logistics center as well as a site for potential new manufacturing and industrial opportunities.
Renovations are expected to start soon at the site, 1220 W. Railroad St., which has sat idle for more than three years.
The industrial site sits on a slip on Duluth’s harbor with 19 acres of prime property along Interstate Highway 35 near Canal Park and downtown Duluth.
It has direct access to transportation by interstate, rail and water.
The Fosters purchased the property for undisclosed terms as Railroad Street Properties LLC.
In 1981, Foster founded Jeff Foster Trucking Inc.
The Superior-based company has grown to a nationwide operation of more than 200 tractors and 600 trailers employing more than 260 people.
In 2003, he purchased the former Georgia-Pacific hardboard plant along the Superior harbor front.
Today it operates as Twin Ports Warehouse and Storage, with more than 140,000 square feet dedicated to warehousing and intermodal shipping.
It has more than 40 employees and continues to grow.
As he did with the Superior plant, Foster plans to remake the distressed Duluth property to help grow the regional economy and create jobs.
In addition to using space for warehousing and shipping, he is interested in redeveloping portions for other businesses, perhaps serving as an industrial incubator.
“We are absolutely thrilled about this opportunity,” Foster said. “We want cars in the parking lot and people coming to work at this location.”
Immediate plans include beginning renovation and repair of the facility as well as a significant clean-up of the overall property.
Since the site can be easily seen from Duluth’s hillside and I-35, Foster plans to make improvements to give it better “curb appeal” for residents and visitors.
The property has many attractive features, including 350,000 square feet under roof and ample outdoor space, along with industrial-scale natural gas, water and electric service.
Other industrial infrastructure includes: silos, storage tanks, conveyors and boiler systems fueled by natural gas, oil and wood. (The property cannot return to hardboard manufacturing, as proprietary equipment was either removed or dismantled by the previous owner.)
Foster said he plans to work with the City of Duluth, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and other organizations to identify parties that may be interested in locating to or expanding on the site, especially industrial or manufacturing operations.
“We are interested in creating an environment that will promote economic expansion,” Foster said. “Part of our vision is to create an industrial incubator right here on the waterfront.”