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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

Gov. Kaine announces 335 new jobs for King George

~ Harris Teeter to invest $101 million in first Virginia distribution operation~

RICHMOND – Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced that Harris Teeter, Inc., will invest $101 million to open a food distribution operation in King George County, creating 335 jobs. The facility will service existing storefronts in the Virginia market and expand service in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Virginia successfully competed with Maryland and North Carolina for the project.

  “I am pleased that King George County will serve as the location for Harris Teeter’s first Virginia food distribution operation,” said Governor Kaine. “Harris Teeter is an exciting, well-known brand in the Commonwealth and will certainly increase its presence with an investment of this magnitude. King George and Virginia as a whole will also benefit from more than 300 new job opportunities.”
 
Harris Teeter, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ruddick Corporation and headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina, is a food market chain that operates in the eight-state area of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland and Delaware.  The company also operates stores in the District of Columbia. Ruddick Corporation is traded on the NY Stock Exchange at RDK. Harris Teeter has approximately 21,000 employees.
 
“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. “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,” added Cooper.
 
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with King George County and the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Kaine approved $200,000 from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist King George County with the project. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
 
“We are extremely pleased that Harris Teeter has selected King George County as the site for their Virginia Distribution Center,” stated Joseph W. Grzeika, Chairman of the King George County Board of Supervisors.  “This development has been a team effort and our Board views Harris Teeter as key to diversifying our business base in the County as well as further endorsement of industrial development potential along Virginia State Route 3.  While providing a substantial capital investment, the Harris Teeter distribution facility will also provide good paying jobs with a great company. We welcome Harris Teeter to King George and look forward to building a strong and long lasting partnership and eagerly await the closing after the diligence period."

 

Thinking of running for local office?

Here’s candidate information for this fall’s election

By Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter


If you are thinking of seeking a position in public service, it’s not too early to start gathering 125 signatures on the required petitions now.

Running for local office is not as difficult as many think. 

Read more: Thinking of running for local office?

County real estate reassessments underway

Downward trend in assessments reflect lower home sale prices

The National Association of Realtors last week reported a huge drop in prices on existing homes.  
The trend of falling home values is beginning to be reflected in King George.  
That trend could continue as the financial crisis grows and the recession deepens.
According to figures released on December 23, the national median existing-home price for all housing types was $181,300 in November.  
That was down 13.2 percent from November 2007 when the median was $208,800.
Regionally, in the South, existing-home sales dropped 10.9 percent to an annual pace of 1.64 million in November, and are 17.6 percent below a year ago.
The median price in the South was $154,500, which is 10.6 percent lower than November 2007.
The Code of Virginia requires each locality to periodically perform a general reassessment to determine each property’s fair market value and its equalization in value to similar properties.  
The effective date of the reassessment is January 1, 2010.  The last general reassessment was effective January 1, 2006.
Blue Ridge Mass Appraisal Company, LLC is currently conducting an assessment for the county that will go into effect a year from now.  
Property assessment is a year-long process.  Blue Ridge began the current process in October and will continue it through 2009.  
The assessments will be reflected in the values adopted a year from now, in January 2010 for tax rates and collections in June & December 2010.  
The first step is site visits by assessors.  Over the course of the next year, site visits will eventually take assessors to all improved property in the county.  
Those visits will enable them to update the value of all property in King George.  
But if home prices keep falling over the course of the next year, those declines will be reflected in the updated values assigned by the assessors.
Blue Ridge reps have said the market on homes will be monitored on a monthly basis through the end of the assessment process to make further adjustments to county property values as necessary before sending the change of assessment notices next fall.
Blue Ridge project manager and appraiser Mike Didawick recently reported to the Board of Supervisors.  
Didawick noted that the best way to understand the current real estate market is to view properties that have recently sold.
He explained that the value of a home is determined by analyzing recent sales of similar homes, called “comparables.”
Some of the characteristics used to determine similarity include comparing square footage, number of stories, exterior finish, basements/finished basements, number of bathrooms, heating/cooling system, fireplaces, and attached/detached garages.
As with all real estate, Didawick said that location is of primary concern when assessing the value of property.  
Location features can either enhance or detract from the value of the property.
Location features that enhance value include water frontage, pleasing views or adjoining golf courses. Features that detract from value include location in a flood zone, proximity to a landfill and adjoining a junkyard
~ EFFECT OF FALLING HOME PRICES     With falling home prices, homeowners with an inflated mortgage balance and a need to refinance due to an upwardly adjusting interest rate could be in a bind.  
Also, those wishing to sell their houses may be facing a loss if they owe more on their mortgage than current sale prices indicate they can get.
But those who intend to stay in their homes will be little-effected by falling home prices, including the strong possibility of a lower real estate assessment that could be enacted a year from now.
That’s because when the reassessment process is over a year from now in King George, the Board of Supervisors will be presented with a calculated equalized tax rate.
If the reassessment results in lower property values, the calculated equalized tax rate will be higher than the existing tax rate.

By Phyllis Cook, Staff Reporter



 

No annual raises in January for county employees

King George making budget cuts

The King George Board of Supervisors last week directed county staff to hold off on implementing annual pay-for-performance raises that were scheduled to go into effect next month.  
The January 2009 raises could be implemented later this fiscal year, but it is doubtful.  
That’s because like most other localities across the state, King George is making cuts and postponing expenditures in the current fiscal year budget due to lower revenues.
Deputy County Administrator/Director of Finance Donita Harper told Supervisors she was currently projecting a year-end deficit on June 30 of $1,394,125.  
~ TAX REVENUE DOWN    That’s because revenue collections are down in all areas, including taxes from real estate, personal property and recordation.  In addition, interest income is down, along with fees from building and other permits.  
Also, budgeted state revenue has been cut that had been expected from the state Compensation Board to go toward salaries for employees in Constitutional offices.
Year-to-date comparisons from this year to last year indicate that the proceeds from the above revenues are 15 percent lower, which translates to $666K less.
Postponing the raises for county employees will hold off on spending about $55,000, since the current year budget had held salary increases to a pot of money to average 2 percent for the mid-year increases.
Supervisors also directed that the additional options presented by Harper to reduce the projected year end $1.4M deficit be implemented immediately.  
Those include the following targets:  
~ Hiring freeze for all full and part-time position vacancies – anticipated to save about $100,000.
~ Overtime freeze, except for emergencies, unless approved by the County Administrator – anticipated to save about $100,000.
~ 3 percent budgeted spending reductions by county agencies and departments – anticipated to save about $600,000.
~ 3 percent budgeted spending reductions by School Board and Smoot Library - anticipated to save about $400,000.
~ All purchases going forward are to be based on operational necessity, with requisitions to be reviewed by the County Administrator/Deputy – anticipated to save about $200,000
Supervisor Joe Grzeika said, “I think it’s the prudent thing to do is tell all departments to make cuts.”
Grzeika also said, “I think everyone is going to have to share in the pain.  There are no easy answers.”
Supervisor Dale Sisson noted that where services had been ramped up in previous years, they were ripe for cuts to be taken, noting a big decrease in building permits.  
That decrease results in fewer inspections and less staff time for processing applications.   
But County Administrator Travis Quesenberry said that he was preparing a plan to indicate how to use Community Development staff that would “show how we can save the county money.”
Supervisor Jim Howard also suggested that it was also time to again look at combining functions with the School Board.  That could include building maintenance, custodial, and grass-cutting and landscaping, among others.
In other action at the same meeting, Supervisors voted to approve a request from the School Board and provide an additional appropriation of $125K.  The funding is a portion of what was appropriated by the county last fiscal year, but left unspent by the School Board.
Superintendent Candace Brown told Supervisors the money would be spent on specific items, including $50K for band uniforms, $50K for library books and $25K for repair of the metal roof at King George Elementary School.  
ALSO AT THE DECEMBER 16, 2008 MEETING:  
o     REQUEST FROM TRAIL REP    David Jones, representing the Friends of the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail requested the Board of Supervisors to include the trail in the county’s Comprehensive Plan with the proviso that no local funds be used for it.
Jones said the trail is included in the state’s Virginia Outdoor Plan, but added that the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation will not act to acquire the trail until the county Board gives its approval.
Jones stated, “Our contacts at DCR will act to acquire the trail as a state-owned linear park as soon as we have your approval.” 

By Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter



 

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