Harris Teeter Plans $101M Warehouse to Feed Growth

Word of new development plans is uncommon in the industrial sector these days, as it is for most commercial property types. Nevertheless, the supermarket chain Harris Teeter Inc. is bucking the trend. Making one of the largest commitments to an industrial facility so far this year, Harris Teeter intends to build a $101 million distribution center in King George County, Va. Virginia edged out North Carolina and Maryland in its bid for the distribution center, which will serve stores in Maryland and Delaware as well as in Virginia. The project’s size and construction schedule were not disclosed in the announcement last Thursday by the office of Gov. Tim Kaine that Virginia had prevailed. However, Harris Teeter vice president of distribution Larry Cooper said in the statement that location, work force and highway access helped tip the balance toward King George County. The distribution center is apparently part of Harris Teeter’s aggressive plan to expand a footprint that included 176 stores in eight states and the District of Columbia at the end of last September. Harris Teeter’s operating plan calls for capital expenditures of $241 million during fiscal 2009. As of last fall, Harris Teeter was planning to open 17 new stores and complete the remodeling of four others during its current fiscal year The company plans new store openings in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Southern Maryland and coastal Delaware, according to a statement last fall by its parent company, Ruddick Corp. At the end of last September, Harris Teeter operated the vast majority of its stores—127—in North Carolina. The distribution center will also add significantly to Harris Teeter’s distribution capacity and ability to operate stores in new locations. It currently operates a 517,000-square-foot distribution center east of Charlotte, a 913,000-square-foot distribution facility in Greensboro, N.C., and a 90,500-square-foot dairy processing plant in High Point, N.C., according to Ruddick Corp.’s most recent annual report.