San Bernardino County Sun04/29/04PEP BOYS ON DECK FOR SB AIRPORT Auto parts retailer plans large project By JIM STEINBERG and TERESA ROCHESTER Staff Writers SAN BERNARDINO – A trickle of interest has turned into an avalanche.With the ink hardly dry on a deal to bring a $200 million Stater Bros. Markets distribution center and corporate headquarters project to San Bernardino International Airport, there’s already another huge project on the drawing boards.Pep Boys plans a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center on the west side of Tippecanoe Avenue, with the south boundary being Mill Street and the north boundary being Timber Creek. San Bernardino Mayor Judith Valles confirmed that Pep Boys will be the next large distribution center for San Bernardino International Airport.”It’s big,’ she said.Based in Philadelphia, Pep Boys is an automotive parts and accessories retailer. The company, Pep Boys Manny Moe Jack Inc., also services cars and installs parts. The San Bernardino project will be constructed in two phases, according to documents filed with the city.The first phase, a 600,240-square-foot building with adjacent truck dock parking, will be built on the northern part of the property.The second phase, a 546,480-square-foot structure, will be built on the south side of the property.It was not immediately known how many people Pep Boys would employ in San Bernardino nor when the project might be completed. City planner Valerie Ross said the project will go to the city Development Review Committee next month.The Pep Boys distribution center would be the third major project lured to San Bernardino International Airport by Hillwood Investments, the master developer for much of the airport land. Hillwood snagged Mattel Inc. last year.John Magness, a Hillwood senior vice president, declined to comment on the Pep Boys project Wednesday.This month, Mattel started operations for its 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse, which is across Tippecanoe from the Pep Boys site.Hillwood’s first success was landing the 576,000-square-foot Kohl’s distribution warehouse, which is immediately west of where Pep Boys will be. Kohl’s phased in its San Bernardino warehousing operations in late 2002.Stater Bros. Chairman Jack Brown for several years had been independently talking to airport officials about moving from the supermarket chain’s headquarters in Colton to San Bernardino International Airport.Before Hillwood entered the picture, there had been only minor interest among major companies in locating at the airport.Pep Boys operates 626 stores in 36 states. For the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, revenues rose 2 percent to $2.13 billion.