1 MILLION Square Feet

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From Adidas to Amazon, distribution centers in the Upstate are busting the seven-figure mark – and the trend is set to continue

 

The Upstate’s inventory of major distribution centers has continued to expand during the past decade.

Companies including Adidas, Rite Aid, TechTronic Industries, Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Amazon have nearly reached or well exceeded the 1 million-square-foot mark for facilities that help them ship goods to customers faster and more efficiently.

Those projects have produced hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment and thousands of jobs for residents across the region.

Local experts said they expect to see the trend continue, driven by population growth, the online shopping boom and companies consolidating existing distribution centers into one massive facility.

With a network of highways and major interstates, rail corridors and an inland port connected to the Port of Charleston, commercial real estate owners and investors said the Upstate is well positioned to capitalize on that trend.

But another key ingredient in landing those big-box distribution centers will be the availability of sites that can support them.

“Within two days you can reach 70 percent of the nation’s population,” said David Britt, Spartanburg County Councilman and board member of the Economic Futures Group. “We’ve worked so hard with our developers to get sites ready so we’re ready to roll when the companies are here… We’re competing with the Southeast. This is where everyone wants to be.”

The region’s portfolio of large commercial tracts is broad and diverse.

Upstate leaders said the pipeline of potential projects is getting healthier and the mix includes domestic and foreign companies that compete on the global stage.

A good example is the $270 million, five-building distribution complex Greenville-based Michelin North America plans to build on 460 acres in western Spartanburg County. The 3.3 million-square-foot center, which is expected to be fully operational by 2019, will create at least 350 jobs.

Although the project is a win for the region, developers said there aren’t too many companies out there seeking to build centers of that magnitude.

And while there are many properties on the market, developers said only a few have all of the elements site selectors and companies are looking for, including access to interstates, infrastructure, a skilled workforce and utilities, as well as a willing seller.

UBJ has identified six properties to keep an eye on during the next few years that have the potential to house build-to-suit distribution centers that can occupy 1 million square feet or more:

augustagrove

Augusta Grove

 

Augusta Road and I-185, Greenville County

In September, private developers acquired The Matrix, a 1,100-acre industrial park off Augusta Road in Greenville County.

The park’s new ownership entity, Augusta Grove-Greenville LLC, is a partnership led by TPA Group of Atlanta and Appian Investments, a Greenville-based investment group. Greenville County Business Park Public Facilities Corp. is a minority partner.

The park, which was created more than 15 years ago, has been renamed Augusta Grove. It has already attracted a mix of manufacturing and logistics owners, including GE Aviation, KI Logistics, Roy Metals, The Blood Connection, Sun City Produce, JKEKT, Magna Industries and others.

The park still has more than 700 acres available for development.

Grice Hunt, a broker with NAI Earle Furman, the firm that is managing, marketing, developing and rebranding the park, said there is room at the park for at least one 1 million-square-foot distribution center.

“That’s part of the reason we’ve done the Augusta Grove deal,” Hunt said. “We think this is a park that has been underutilized and underdeveloped. This is a market where we think there is going to be sustained growth and we want to be able to accommodate the big bombers as well as the smaller manufacturing companies.”

flatwoodindustrial

Flatwood Industrial Park

 

Flatwood Industrial Drive, Spartanburg County

In 2015, Spartanburg-based Johnson Development opened up 1,400 acres of farmland north of Business I-85 between Parris Bridge Road and Highway 221 for development.

The site, named Flatwood Industrial Park, has the potential to support about 9 million square feet of speculative and build-to-suit facilities, and thousands of jobs.

In May, Pennsylvania-based drugstore chain Rite Aid hosted the grand opening of its $90 million, 900,000-square-foot Southeast Customer Support Center at the business park.

Johnson Development said the park still has 1,250 acres remaining for development, with the capacity to support up to 9 million square feet of industrial space.

Rob Rain, president of Johnson Development’s industrial division, said Flatwood has four sites remaining that can accommodate at least a 1 million-square-foot facility and a fifth site that can house a 750,000-square-foot center.

millikentract

Milliken Tract

 

Fort Prince Boulevard, Spartanburg County

A new 800-acre business park will soon be developed on property once owned by the late textile magnate Roger Milliken.

The site is comprised of three tracts off Fort Prince Boulevard less than 1 mile from the intersection of Highway 29 and I-85.

A conceptual master plan shared by John Montgomery, principal of Montgomery Development Group, showed the site has the capacity to house three buildings larger than 1 million square feet, as well as six other facilities between 225,000 and 300,000 square feet.

sunnyslope

Sunny Slope Corporate Park

 

Webber Road, Cherokee County

A 355-acre site off I-85 near Cowpens that was once part of the Sunny Slope Farms peach empire is ready to yield new jobs and investment.

According to a conceptual site layout provided by Montgomery and Colliers International, the property has the potential to house at least a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center and four other industrial facilities ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 square feet.

The site has access to the interstate via Webber and Macedonia Roads. It is in close proximity to Upstate Corporate Park off Highway 110, which is home to a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center operated by the Virginia-based discount variety store chain Dollar Tree.

tygerriver

Tyger River Industrial Park-North

 

Highway 290, Duncan (Spartanburg County)

It would be difficult to find an area in any part of the country more rife with development than the Highway 290 corridor in Spartanburg County.

After a widening of the highway several years ago, the introduction in 2014 of Greenville-based Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc.’s massive Tyger River Industrial Park (TRIP) portfolio has ignited investments from several manufacturers, including Toray, Kobelco, Ritrama and Sterling CPI.

Earlier this year, Pacolet Milliken, a private investment firm founded in 2007 by shareholders of Spartanburg-based Milliken & Co., opened up the northern tract of the 2,250-acre park for development.

The 882-acre plot of undeveloped land has access to a CSX rail line, highways 221 and 290 and interstates 85 and 26.

As with the rest of the TRIP property, Pacolet Milliken will invest in infrastructure at the site to make it shovel-ready for new projects. The company will also bring sewer, water, power and new roads to TRIP North.

The company’s master plan for the property shows it has the potential to house 13 facilities with a combined footprint of 7 million square feet.

Those facilities include two huge distribution centers, 1.5 million square feet and more than 1.4 million square feet.

“These facilities that are big bombers have a pretty specific orientation,” said Garrett Scott, a broker with Colliers International, who is helping to market the site. “There are some critical factors being considered when one of those is being laid out. It’s not about laying a 1 million-square-foot square on a site. To properly identify sites in this vein, there are a lot of different hurdles that need to be cleared.”

Scott said he believes that because a private investment company and not a developer owns TRIP, it could be more attractive to companies and developers who might also be considering sites in other states.

upstatecorporatepark

Upstate Corporate Park

 

Mount Olive and Battleground Roads, Cowpens

Upstate Corporate Park straddles the Spartanburg and Cherokee County line.

While its most recent claim to fame is Dollar Tree, the 500-acre park is home to a 90,000-square-foot facility for plastic enclosure manufacturer Bericap and a 60,000-square-foot spec building constructed by Cherokee County.

The property off Mount Olive Road in Cowpens was also once a part of the Sunny Slope Farms operation.

John Moore, a representative for the Moore family, which owns the park, said there is still plenty of property up for grabs, including a 70 acre parcel that could suit another distribution center at or larger than 1 million square feet.

The site is near I-85. Moore said once the widening of the interstate is complete and access to the park is improved, he believes it won’t be long before the park lands another major project.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” Moore said. “Working with Holland Belue [Cherokee assistant county administrator] and other leaders has been wonderful. They are very professional. We have a county and state government that’s willing to work with us and a company.”

Moore said he hopes to land companies that will be good corporate citizens in hopes of having the maximum positive impact on the community.

“We want to sell it to people we think will be good neighbors and good stewards in the community,” he said. “If it isn’t the right fit, we’re not going to sell it to them.”


Flatwood Industrial Park
Flatwood Industrial Drive
Spartanburg County
Acres: 1,400
Acres still available: 1,250

Upstate Corporate Park
Mount Olive and Battleground roads
Cowpens (Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties)
Acres: 500
Still available: 200

Tyger River Industrial Park-North
Highway 290
Duncan (Spartanburg County)
Acres: 882

Augusta Grove
Augusta Road and Interstate 185
Greenville County
Acres: 1,100
Acres still available: 709

Sunny Slope Corporate Park
Webber Road
Cherokee County
Acres: 355

Milliken Tract
Fort Prince Boulevard
Spartanburg County
Acres: 800


How big is 1 million square feet?

 

-The average football field, including end zones, is about 64,800 feet. That means 15.4 football fields could fit into a 1 million-square-foot facility.

-One lap around a 1 million-square-foot box is 4,000 feet, which is 40 feet longer than three-quarters of a mile.

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