Developer Plans 300,000 SF Industrial Facility At Wilmington Port

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Jacksonville, Florida-based industrial and office developer Chesterfield has plans to construct a 300,000-square-foot industrial facility at the Port of Wilmington, officials with the company said Monday.

The main 23-acre site, located less than a mile from the port's south gate, is expected to be developed in late 2018, said Chance Raehn, vice president of development at Chesterfield.

"Our hope and expectations are that we have a build-to-suit project and the facility be operational by the end of 2018," Raehn said. "This is a speculative project with a build-to-suit tenant in mind."
 
The 300,000-square-foot warehouse is planned to have a minimum 32-foot clear height and more than 100 dock doors, according to port officials. Another 11-acre site located on an adjacent parcel is planned to provide room for expansion, with development plans calling for an additional 100,000 square feet of warehouse space in a separate building.

Chesterfield is leasing the land from the port, according to port officials.

The 300,000-square-foot facility could be divided and used as a multi-tenant building. Both projects could be developed into either single-user or multi-tenant facilities, Raehn said.

"The specs that we have provided is what we intend to construct. Although those specs could be modified slightly based on the build-to-suit tenant's requirements," Raehn said. "We don't intend to build the two projects simultaneously unless we have two build-to-suit tenants."

So far, only conceptual designs have been made for the project. Raehn said the more permanent design phase could start in early 2018, but it is unknown at this time when officials might break ground on the project.

"Based on the leadership at the Ports Authority, their operations and recent infrastructure improvement at the port and recent shipping line announcements, we feel that the Port of Wilmington is poised for unprecedented growth. Our intent for this facility is to support port-related operations," Raehn said.

Currently, regional economic developers, the Port of Wilmington and Chesterfield are marketing the project for potential tenants.

"We are marketing the building for tenants that will use the Port of Wilmington. And until we have a tenant, we will continue to market the building as a speculative building," Raehn said.

Talks about the projects and meeting with the port and economic developers have been ongoing for about 10 months, Raehn said. Chesterfield was recruited by North Carolina's Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership and the N.C. State Ports Authority to explore industrial opportunities in the Cape Fear region, he said.
 
The development is a typical project for Chesterfield, which has been developing office and industrial real estate since 2006. The development firm has worked with several recognizable companies, including General Electric Aviation, General Mills, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Target and Ikea.

Chesterfield has a similar model in Savannah, Georgia, with the Georgia Ports Authority. "The two projects are developing simultaneously," Raehn said.