News Article | 4/29/2004

Pep Boys To Build At Norton Site

Riverside Press Enterprise04/29/04

PEP BOYS TO BUILD AT NORTON SITE NORTON: The auto-parts retailer joins Kohl’s, Mattel and Stater Bros. at the reused facility.

By ADAM EVENTOV AND PHIL PITCHFORD / The Press-EnterpriseSAN BERNARDINO – Momentum keeps building for the redevelopment of the former Norton Air Force Base with the addition of yet another major distribution center and an estimated 300 jobs, according to real estate industry officials.Pep Boys plans to build a 600,240-square-foot warehouse at AllianceCalifornia, the industrial development by Hillwood at the former base. The Philadelphia-based automotive-parts retailer will relocate from a facility in Vernon, according to a half-dozen real estate officials familiar with the project who spoke only on condition of anonymity.”It’s a big deal, because its another logistics and distribution center for the area,” San Bernardino Mayor Judith Valles said when asked about the project late Wednesday. “It’s one that we have been working on for quite a while.” The project will be located on roughly 55 acres at the northwest corner of Tippecanoe Avenue and Mill Street. The site will first need to be cleared of old Air Force buildings and their lead-based paint and asbestos insulation. Workers were on the project site clearing the area Wednesday.It is the fourth tenant for the AllianceCalifornia logistics center. Since Dallas-based Hillwood began its involvement with the former base in 2000, the developer has attracted a 652,000-square-foot warehouse for retailer Kohl’s and a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center for toy maker Mattel now nearing completion.The Pep Boys deal comes a month after Stater Bros. announced it would relocate its $200 million headquarters and distribution facilities on 160 acres at the former base. The move retains 1,600 jobs in the area and is expected to add 900 jobs when it is built out in a few years.The Colton-based grocery chain will move into a 1.7 million-square-foot facility that can be expanded to 2.2 million square feet. Inland Valley Development Agency staff landed the Stater Bros. deal. New warehouses at the former base are bringing jobs back to an area that lost 10,000 jobs when Norton Air Force Base closed in 1994.HPA Inc., of Newport Beach, is the architect on the project. HPA designed the Mattel building and will likely use many of the same design elements in the Pep Boys project. A time frame for completion of the new warehouse was unavailable.Neither Pep Boys nor Hillwood officials would comment on the warehouse deal.Hillwood built its reputation on turning 15,000 acres of Texas cow country near Fort Worth into AllianceTexas, one of the country’s most successful cargo centers. The project has generated roughly 20,000 jobs and pumped more than $21 billion into the Fort Worth-area economy. By 2010, the company estimates it will generate another $38 billion for the area’s economy.Reach Adam Eventov at (909) 375-3731 or at [email protected].