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Forest Park officials announces Project Jasper is code name for Kroger

Distribution center coming to Forest Park

FOREST PARK — Forest Park city officials announced Tuesday afternoon that the anonymous company known as Project Jasper closed the deal with the city and dropped its secret identity.

Project Jasper was a code name for Kroger, one of the world’s largest food retailers, according to the company’s website. The company will build a distribution center on about 300 acres of Gillem.

Once officials have signed all the necessary papers, Brandon said Kroger will waste no time in preparing for its $250 million distribution center, set to be operational in September 2015.

“If we finish today, they’ll start construction tomorrow,” Brandon said.

The distribution center will employ between 700 and 900 skilled workers when it first opens, but Brandon said that number should eventually rise to about 1,500 jobs for Clayton County residents.

If recent history is any indication, that number isn’t too shocking. Kroger has added 40,000 new employees over the past six years, according to its website. About 7,000 of those new jobs were added over the past year.

Brandon said he’s optimistic Kroger’s job opportunities will attract families and other businesses to the city. He said investors are already looking into building new housing around Star Park.

Other investors, who need to remain anonymous for now, are even preparing to bid on the remaining 500 acres of Gillem the city owns.

“This will do so much for the city,” he said. “I think it’s a very exciting time to live in Forest Park.”