Grocery distributor buys Harford facility

November 24, 1994|By Kevin L. McQuaid | Kevin L. McQuaid,Sun Staff Writer

The nation's second-largest grocery wholesaler purchased a mammoth distribution facility in the Perryman section of Harford County yesterday for roughly $17 million, a move that will create 200 jobs next year.

Supervalu Inc., a Minneapolis-based company with $16 billion in annual sales, bought the 530,000-square-foot project to increase operating efficiency and improve its buying position with manufacturers, said Larry Anderson, a Supervalu executive vice president.

Supervalu acquired the building -- which includes a new $6 million freezer addition -- from grocery distributor B. Green & Co. Inc., which had signed a 15-year lease with a purchase option in August 1992. The new owner intends to invest $3 million in new equipment.

Supervalu also acquired 77 acres around the 504 Channel Drive building, land the company hopes to use in two years to double the size of the warehouse.

"This building allows Supervalu to penetrate this market much faster than if they had to acquire land and build from scratch," said James D. Fielder Jr., assistant secretary for business development with the state's Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED). "The building made this deal work."

Supervalu intends to relocate existing operations from a 175,000-square-foot distribution center in Hagerstown by next spring. That facility will be converted into a warehouse for Sav-A-Lot, a supermarket chain owned by Supervalu.

DEED, which provided $500,000 in training funds to help with the expansion, anticipates Supervalu's sales from the facility will exceed $600 million a year and estimates the economic impact to Maryland at $15.6 million annually by 1998.

Supervalu's immediate plans include adding 30,000 square feet of office space to the building for administrative personnel. Harford County intends to provide the company with "fast track" approval, said Paul Gilbert, Harford County's economic development director.

The company supplies more than 4,650 supermarkets nationwide and owns more than 300 grocery outlets.

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