Freightliner options 300 acres here

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By Jenny Hartley

Freightliner, the country's leading manufacturer of heavy transport vehicles, may be trucking its headquarters into Lancaster County.

Lancaster County Economic Development Corp. President Keith Tunnell said late last week that Lancaster County is in the running for the headquarters, now based in Portland, Ore. The company is putting an option on 300 acres in the county.

Company officials are also looking at sites in York County, and Mecklenburg and Iredell counties in North Carolina, Tunnell said.

The headquarters move could mean 2,500 new jobs for the area, with only 800 workers transferring from the West coast.

The company would build a campus on 200 to 300 acres for four or five buildings. While the campus is being built, the company would likely lease temporary office space and phase in 600 to 800 employees at a time.

"The company is looking at all available large office buildings in the Charlotte area," Tunnell said.

Freightliner has manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, Gastonia, High Point and Mount Holly, N.C., and Gaffney.

Freightliner was founded in 1942 and employs a total of 25,480, according to figures on its Web site.

The company produced 187,000 units in 2006. Its parent company is Daimler.

Freightliner's products are exported to more than 35 international markets outside North America.

Its brands include Freightliner Trucks, Sterling Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis, Unimog and Alliance Parts.

Officials from the company couldn't be reached for comment by late Friday afternoon.

Contact Jenny Hartley

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