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Navy Exchange Service Command is putting Northeast distribution center in Suffolk

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The Navy Exchange Service Command has signed a lease for a 350,000-square-foot distribution center at the CenterPoint Intermodal Center in Suffolk. It’s the second major deal announced for the 920-acre center, following a decision by Ace Hardware Corp. to spend $14 million to build a 336,969-square-foot distribution warehouse there. 

The two projects will be the first buildings at the site off Route 58 where Chicago-based CenterPoint Properties Trust plans to develop 5.8 million square-feet of distribution warehouses. “This is tremendous validation for the city of Suffolk and the entire Hampton Roads region as a center of international trade,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement.

Kathleen Martin, a spokesperson for the Navy Exchange Service Command in Virginia Beach, said the Suffolk warehouse will replace two smaller existing warehouses in Norfolk. “It will serve as our Northeast distribution center,” she said.  The new, larger warehouse should be complete by June 2012. It brings 175 jobs. Employees currently working the jobs in Norfolk will be given the opportunity to keep their jobs by relocating to Suffolk, Martin said. The Navy Exchange operates the worldwide network of Navy and Marine Corps retail stores. Its Northeast distribution center handles $140 million worth of merchandise, at cost, per year and serves as the distribution and freight consolidation point for Navy exchanges along the East coast as well as several overseas locations.

The Ace Hardware Import Re-Distribution Center will create 75 new jobs over the next 36 months. The project will service Ace’s existing East Coast regional distribution centers, including an operation in Prince George County. Ace Hardware, located in Oak Brook, Ill., has more than 4,500 independently owned stores across the U.S. McDonnell approved a $100,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Suffolk with the project. 

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