Ross Dress for Less closed escrow Wednesday on a 160-acre property in Shafter where it plans to build a 1.7 million-square-foot distribution center expected to create 1,500 new Kern County jobs.

The center would be located inside Los Angeles-based Roll Global's Paramount Logistics Park, a 1,400-acre complex off 7th Standard Road that is already home to large tenants and property owners including retailer Target and oil service companies Schlumberger and Baker Hughes.

The transaction promises to build on Kern's reputation as a strategic location for West Coast logistics work.

"A deal like (this will) be a feather in the cap for the Bakersfield community and Kern community," said Stephen Haupt, an industrial properties expert with Colliers International.

Added industrial property broker Wayne Kress with Pacific Commercial Realty Advisors: "It's just one more example of large distribution center servicing the retailer trades locating in this area."

Shafter City Manager John Guinn expressed his approval with the retailer's plans, saying, "It helps diversify the economy in Kern County and adds quite a bit of job opportunity for our citizens."

"We need to work hard at providing all levels of employment opportunity, professional as well as blue collar," he said.

Pleasanton-based Ross Dress for Less already has distribution centers in Perris and Moreno Valley. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Roll Global released a statement explaining why it believes The Paramount Logistics Park continues to draw interest from industry. It noted that the development is not far from Highway 99, Interstate 5 and Highway 58.

Additionally, the BNSF railroad serves the industrial park with 2,000 rail cars a year. The center has a railroad spur two unit trains long right off the railroad's main line.

"The combination of an ideal regional distribution location, competitive land prices and plentiful labor together with the pro-business environment of Shafter, California makes the choice to locate in Shafter very advantageous," the company stated.