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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Harris Teeter’s King George distribution center delayed

The timeline for Harris Teeter’s planned food distribution center and grocery warehouse in King George County is expected to be pushed back, and the company is also studying other alternatives to the site, according to a news release put out today by HT parent Ruddick Corp.

In January, Harris Teeter and King George announced that HT was buying 100 acres in the county’s industrial park to build a $101 million, 500,000-square-foot distribution center that would create 335 jobs. The grocer was given 90 days to study the project before closing occurred.

King George has since granted HT four extensions, including another 30-day extension this week that goes through the beginning of September. This is from the Ruddick press release today, which coincided with the company’s latest earnings report:

As previously disclosed, the Company identified a site for a new distribution center outside of Fredericksburg, VA. Harris Teeter originally estimated the cost for the new facility and equipment at approximately $100 million and an opening sometime in fiscal 2012. While the Company continues with its due diligence procedures, it is also exploring other alternatives. If the new distribution center is pursued, its anticipated construction timeframe is expected to be deferred beyond the original contemplated timeframe of fiscal 2011 and 2012.

King George Economic Development Director Nicole Thompson said the county assumes that the project is going forward. HT spokeswoman Jennifer Thompson said the company is just doing its due diligence and making sure it’s a good fit.

HT has been mentioned as a possible buyer for Ukrop’s Super Markets, but nothing has materialized on that as of now.

For more on this story see tomorrow’s FLS.

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