The parent of Stop & Shop has signed a long-term lease to occupy almost half of a 2 million-square-foot distribution center in Manchester where it plans to create up to 700 new jobs, officials said Tuesday.
Netherlands-based food retail giant Ahold Delhaize in recent weeks inked a 15-year lease with Winstanley Enterprises, Connecticut’s largest owner of warehouses, for 975,000 square feet at 1339 Tolland Turnpike.
The facility, acquired by Winstanley for $70 million last year, is considered one of New England’s largest warehouses.
Principal Adam Winstanley on Tuesday said Ahold will take over its newly renovated space on April 1. The facility, on 163 acres, is now 83 percent leased and has one remaining space spanning over 348,000 square feet, he said.
Ahold in a news release late Tuesday said the Manchester lease is part of a $480-million investment to broaden its supply chain into a fully-integrated, self-distribution model. The expansion, also including new purchases and leases of several warehouses in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, will also improve delivery speed, innovation and efficiencies, the Dutch company said.
Following the three-year growth initiative, Ahold, which also owns PeaPod, Hannaford and Giant Food, said it will operate 22 traditional and e-commerce distribution centers in the U.S.
“Moving to a self-managed supply chain will enable retail business services to reduce costs for the local brands it serves, improve speed to shelf, deepen relationships with vendors and better position our companies’ distribution centers in the communities they serve,” said Chris Lewis, Ahold’s executive vice president of supply chain for retail business services.
Tuesday’s announcements comes weeks after Ahold aired plans to build a 12,000-square-foot fully automated fulfillment center in the backroom of a Windsor store for deliveries in the Hartford area.
Ahold also made headlines this spring when Stop & Shop workers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island walked off the job for 11 days in pursuit of better pay and healthcare benefits. Ahold later said the strike reduced operating income by approximately $100 million in the second quarter.
Adam Winstanley, Principal, Winstanley Enterprises
Winstanley acquired the former JCPenney distribution center last year and is in the midst of investing $45 million to upgrade the building. JCPenney ceded about half of its space there, shrinking its footprint to 635,000 square feet.
As previously reported, Manchester’s Planning and Zoning Commission in October granted Winstanley approvals to add 26 loading docks and upgrade the site to accommodate a new tenant that could add 700 jobs there.
Plans also call for improvements to 11.3 acres of land to upgrade landscaping and parking areas.
Half of the Concord, Mass.-based company’s staff is based in offices in Hartford, New Haven and Bristol, and the majority of its real estate holdings are located in Connecticut.