SUMMERVILLE —The State Ports Authority is partnering with a Charlotte developer to build the largest speculative industrial building in the region with the goal of bringing more cargo through the Charleston waterfront.
The Keith Corp. did not say how much it will spend to develop the site. The SPA will help market the property but is not contributing money to its construction.
Measuring more than 1 million-square-foot, the building will be built on about 62 acres in the Charleston Trade Center on Nexton Parkway adjacent to U.S. Interstate 26. The cross-docked structure — meaning cargo can be unloaded from trucks and then immediately loaded onto other vehicles — is expected to open by the end of the year.
The building, which does not yet have a tenant lined up, will join German automotive supplier IFA, coffee bean importer RPM, defense contractor Curtiss-Wright and other tenants at the Summerville-area industrial park, which is about 30 miles from the port. The site is already approved for property tax incentives.
Micah Mallace, the SPA’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, said the building is geared toward port-dependent businesses using the new Leatherman Terminal, scheduled to open in March, and Charleston’s two other waterfront container hubs.
The SPA is looking to diversify cargo at the port, which has been heavily geared toward manufacturing, with more retail-based clients, especially those that fulfill online orders.
Last year, Walmart announced it will build a 3 million-square-foot import distribution center near Ridgeville that will boost port cargo by roughly 5 percent. That facility will be developed at the SPA’s Ridgeville Commerce Park, a rail-served industrial site that is being marketed to online retailers.
“We feel like the timing is excellent for a speculative project of this size in Charleston, given the expansion and competitive attributes of (the port’s) facilities,” said Alan Lewis, managing partner of The Keith Corp.’s industrial development unit. “The Charleston market remains an incredibly attractive place to do business, and our new speculative building will provide industrial tenants access to both the Port of Charleston and the booming Southeast market.”
Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_