PEPPERELL -- 1A Auto will be making its return to Pepperell in the spring, creating more than 20 jobs, the company announced Wednesday morning.

The state-of-the-art research and development facility will be a homecoming for the company, which started in the town in 1999. Its headquarters were re-located to Westford in 2016 as it began development of the former Pepperell Paper Mill Site.

"We're proud to be back in Pepperell where it all began," said CEO Rick Green. "This R&D facility will supercharge our mission to empower our customers to perform their own auto repairs."

1A Auto is one of the country's largest online auto parts companies, founded by Green and his brother Mike. The company employs more than 450 people nationally, including locations in Pepperell, Westford and Littleton.

Green is the lone Republican in the 3rd Congressional District race, with 13 Democrats also seeking to succeed U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, who is not seeking re-election.

"When 1A Auto outgrew our facility in Pepperell a couple of years ago, I promised the town that we would return," Green said in a news release from his campaign. "Today, we are keeping that promise. The people of the 3rd district need to know that I keep my promises."