globest.com03/17/04STATER BROS. PLANS $200M FACILITY By Bob HowardSAN BERNARDINO, CA-The Stater Bros. Markets grocery chain will consolidate its distribution operations and headquarters on 160 acres in a nearly 2.2 million-sf, $200 million project at AllianceCalifornia, the Hillwood Investments development at the former Norton Air Force Base.Stater Bros. says it has agreed in principle with the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA) negotiators to acquire and develop the 160 acres, subject to further negotiations and approval by the IVDA board and Hillwood Investments. If all goes as hoped, the new facility will open in the summer of 2006. John Malgness, an SVP at Hillwood, notes that the grocery chain will join the Kohl’s department store chain and toy maker Mattel, which both have large distribution facilities at AllianceCalifornia. Texas-based Hillwood is the master developer of the 2,200-acre former air base under an agreement with the IVDA, an umbrella group of local jurisdictions that controls the former military site.Stater Bros. says its new facility will be the largest “under one roof” distribution center in Southern California. The new facility will replace eight existing smaller distribution facilities primarily located in and around Colton and Redlands. The grocery chain expects to employ approximately 2,000 employees initially at the site, and 2,500 when the project is fully built out.Construction is expected to take a year and a half to two years and to employ 500 to 600 construction workers.Stater Bros. was founded in 1936 in Yucaipa and is the largest privately owned supermarket chain in Southern California, with 157 stores and annual sales of more than $3 billion. It is headed by Jack Brown, president and CEO.