News Article | 3/9/2004

Staters Will Inveil Plans At Sb Airport

San Bernardino County Sun03/09/04

Staters will inveil plans at SB Airport Chain move to SB airport site expected

By JIM STEINBERGBusiness Editor Tuesday, March 09, 2004 – Stater Bros. Markets officials on Friday are expected to announce plans for a new $200 million distribution and warehouse facility at San Bernardino International Airport. Jack H. Brown, president and CEO, has invited about 150 civic leaders, government officials and news media representatives to a presentation at the SBIA terminal. Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, is among those expected to attend. In his invitation, Brown called it “the biggest economic impact announcement in the history of the Inland Empire, including Kaiser Steel in 1942 and Norton Air Force Base in 1950.’Colton-based Stater Bros. has been searching for a new headquarters for six years, beginning with a list of 20 possible sites in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties.That list was trimmed to three: SBIA, another site in San Bernardino County and one in Riverside County.During an interview last week, Brown said negotiations were focusing on the SBIA site. Wherever the site is, its $130 million payroll will be the largest in the county’s history, Brown said in an interview Tuesday. Over time, the headquarters work force is expected to expand from 1,600 employees to 2,200. The company’s corporate offices would double in size from its current 30,000 square feet.The new distribution center would consolidate under one roof eight separate warehousing operations, including a frozen food warehouse in Mira Loma, a slow movement groceries warehouse in Redlands and multiple warehousing sites in Colton.Last week, at a special closed-session meeting of the board of the Inland Valley Development Agency one of the groups charged with redevelopment of the former Norton Air Force Base members heard major deal points of a proposed transaction but took no reportable action.”The deal has not been agreed to. We have not voted on a proposal. Nor have we seen a proposal,’ said Donald L. Rogers, the IVDA’s interim executive director. “We believe we are approaching an agreement we could take to the board in a few weeks.’The next regularly scheduled meeting of the IVDA board is March 24.Hillwood Investments, the master developer for much of the IVDA land, will not develop the proposed Stater Bros. headquarters and distribution center, Rogers said. For a deal to occur, Stater Bros. would have to reach an agreement with Hillwood to release its right to purchase whatever land Stater Bros. would need, Rogers said. John Magness, Hillwood’s senior vice president in charge of the SBIA redevelopment project, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Stater Bros. has its own construction company, Stater Bros. Development, but Brown said Tuesday it may not be the firm that builds the project. When she heard that Stater Bros. planned to hold a news conference Friday, San Bernardino Councilwoman Esther Estrada, an IVDA board member, said she was “in a way surprised, in a way not.’Estrada said that the agreement is incomplete.On the other hand, she recalls Brown telling her passionately several years ago about a plan to reposition the company’s major operations at SBIA. In an interview last week, Brown said the new site would save his company “millions of dollars’ every year.At first glance, a 1.7 million-square-foot proposal for the warehouse center appears only slightly larger than the 1.6 million square feet the company has now. But the height of the new distribution center would increase the space. The new distribution facility, at 6.7 million cubic feet, would be nearly 40 percent larger than the existing one.