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Harris Teeter to invest $101M in KG Industrial Park

King George is getting a big economic boost with a new business establishing in the King George Industrial Park.
The major economic development announcement took place last Thursday, January 22, with action by the Board of Supervisors and the county’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) to approve a purchase agreement for 100 acres to Harris Teeter Properties, LLC, and a performance contract.    
The actions by the King George Board echoed a news release late that same day from Governor Tim Kaine announcing that Harris Teeter, Inc would invest $101 million to open a 500,000 square foot food distribution operation in King George, creating 335 jobs.
Kaine’s release said the distribution facility would “service existing storefronts in the Virginia market and expand service in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.”
Virginia successfully competed with Maryland and North Carolina to bring the project to the state.
Harris Teeter is a food market chain that operates in the eight-state area of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland and Delaware, along with additional stores in the District of Columbia.  In addition to its 176 retail stores, it also currently operates grocery, frozen food, and perishable distribution centers in Greensboro and Indian Trail, NC, as well as the Hunter Farms milk and ice cream facility in High Point, NC.
Harris Teeter is headquartered in Matthews, NC, and has approximately 21,000 employees.
Harris Teeter is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ruddick Corporation, which is traded on the NY Stock Exchange at RDK.  
Kaine’s release noted that the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with King George and the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance to secure the project for Virginia.  
Kaine approved $200,000 from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist King George with the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
Kaine’s release included comments from a Harris Teeter rep.  “The factors that attracted us to this site were its location, workforce potential and proximity to major highways that supplement our logistics network,” said Larry Cooper, Vice President of Distribution for Harris Teeter.
Cooper added, “We will be finalizing our overall evaluation process during a 90 day due diligence period as outlined in the contract. We look forward to and are excited about our partnership with King George County and are appreciative of the Governor’s Opportunity Fund’s assistance with our proposed new distribution center.”
At the Board meeting when the action was taken, four of the five Supervisors had comments regarding the project.
Chairman of the Board Joe Grzeika said, “This is a major economic development win for King George County at a time that couldn’t be more perfect.  We’re extremely pleased that Harris Teeter has selected King George as the site for its Virginia distribution center.  This development has been a team effort and our Board views Harris Teeter as a key to diversifying our business base in the county as well as further endorsement of the industrial development potential along straight Route 3.”
Grzeika added, “This wouldn’t have happened without the hard work of Theresa O’Quinn, our Economic Development Director, Travis Quesenberry, this Board, the Economic Development Authority board and the partners.  Today, a member from Harris Teeter team who made this happen, who was engaged on this on a daily basis, Miss Susan Liberty is here.  We are pleased to have you and thank you for your hard work.”
Grzeika also thanked Gene Bailey from the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, adding, “The Regional Alliance was at the front of this process when it was learned that there was an opportunity being looked for and he brought King George to the table as one of the potential sites.  The role of the Regional Alliance is to bring these types of developments to the region and then he passes it to localities and it’s the locality’s job to do the deal.  And we’ve done the deal.”
Supervisor Cedell Brooks, Jr., stated, “I’m excited about this.  It’s a good thing.”  Brooks also said, “We waited a long time for this and it’s going to create 335 jobs for King George County.  And that’s what we need.  With the economy the way it is, jobs are the key thing and this is great that we’ve got something coming to the county that will bring this number of jobs and will employ people, with many people losing jobs across the region.”
Supervisor Jim Howard said the project “is a very good thing for King George.”  He also said the county Board has been working to expand and diversify its tax base, adding, “We know that our landfill has about a 20-year life (remaining).  We are looking hard at opportunities, we will probably never replace that type of revenue, certainly in one facility, but we’re looking in that industrial park.  And that was our impetus to start the park and to get an option for additional land to expand that park.  Because we know we’re going to need that diversified tax base, especially next year, and it looks like maybe a couple of years until things in the economy straighten out.”
Howard added, “This is a real boost to King George.  Thanks so much to those so many people who worked so long and for so hard.”  
Supervisor Dale Sisson said, “It’s certainly a very exciting day for King George County.  I do appreciate all the efforts of all involved and the amount of months that we have invested in this process.  And I think this is going to pay off handsomely.  Harris Teeter is exactly the type of partner that we want to have in King George County.”
Sisson added, “We’ve talked about the jobs that this will add in terms of working at the facility.  There also will be a significant boost in the local economy to build an infrastructure that requires a $100M investment.  So, not just the operation of the facility itself, but the ramp up over the coming months and years in bringing this facility to life is going to be a huge economic boost.”
~ LOCATION    The Harris Teeter distribution facility will be located on Route 3 (Kings Highway) and the intersection of Route 605 (Bloomsbury Road).
It will be located on 100 acres of a total of 343 acres on which the county holds a purchase option, which it acquired in September 2007 from Plentiful Farm Family Limited Partnership and Mount View Family Limited Partnership.  
The property being purchased by Harris Teeter is contiguous to the King George Industrial Park and is expected to become incorporated into the park after the property transfers are completed.
The purchase option sets the price of the land to the county at just under $25K per acre.  The county holds the option to purchase the all 343 acres by the end of this year.
~ PERFORMANCE    Under the terms of the performance contract, Harris Teeter is to invest at least $101,011,517 to make capital improvements within two years of closing on the property.  
Those improvements include site work, construction of a warehouse, office building, returns building and maintenance facility, machinery, fixtures, software, and vehicles along with other expenditures including the cost of the property at $40K per acre, which comes to $4M for the 100 acres.
Within three years following issuance of an occupancy permit, Harris Teeter is to create and maintain for at least 5 years, a minimum of 335 new jobs having an average annual wage of $38K.  
~ INCENTIVE FUNDS    King George is to provide $2.5M to Harris Teeter as incentive funds on a schedule that provides for payments of $625K in each of four fiscal years starting this year, 2008-09.  
In addition, the county, through the EDA will provide a financial contribution of between 200K-$350K to Harris Teeter to match obtainable grant funding through Virginia state programs.  
~ 90-DAY FEASIBILITY PERIOD     The contract with the county provides Harris Teeter with a 90-day feasibility or “due diligence” period.  During that time, the company has the opportunity to conduct studies, tests, evaluations and investigations of the property prior to purchase of the property.

Phyllis Cook

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