By Mike Lewis
and Matthew Umstead
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — With one building virtually finished, developers are turning their attention to the rest of the Mid-Atlantic 81 Logistics Park in Berkeley County, W.Va.
“At the end of the day, this is going to be a 150-acre site that will have 1.9 million square feet (of building space) on it,” said Dan DiLella Jr., senior vice president of Newtown Square, Pa.-based Equus Capital Partners Ltd.
The site is in the 200 block of Development Drive, about a mile from Interstate 81 off exit 8. It is closer to the Procter & Gamble Co. plant in Tabler Station Business Park at 396 Development Drive.
P&G has pre-leased about 182,000 square feet of the private real-estate investment fund manager’s first project in the logistics park — a 356,700-square-foot structure — for storage. DiLella said several companies have expressed interest in the rest of that building.
“We are confident that the balance of the building will be leased in the first half of 2019,” he said.
The developers have met with county officials about plans for the rest of the site, he said, and engineering work is underway. DiLella said they plan to break ground “as soon as possible” on the second building, a 340,000-square-foot structure on the northeast part of the site. The building could be finished in mid-2020, he said.
“We are open to pre-leasing any or all of it,” he said.
The plans call for two other buildings, one of about 369,000 square feet and another of more than 860,000-square-foot structure. The largest building is expected to be the last to be built.
“I would hope that we would be fully developed in five years for sure,” DiLella said.
He said all of the buildings are expected to be similar in construction, and he anticipates similar warehouse/logistics users being interested in the site’s access to I-81.
DiLella said the firm has been involved with the acreage for about 10 years.
“Certainly, P&G landing in the market has been a real positive for us,” DiLella said.
“We’re told that they’re going to have a number of suppliers that are going to need to locate in the area. There’s really not much in the area, and you can’t be anymore ‘in the area’ than we are right here — to be … maybe a half-mile away as the crow flies, maybe less, and a direct industrial road with one traffic light, he said.
West Virginia transportation officials’ move to build Development Drive from Business Park Drive a couple of years ago was a “net positive” for the project because it eliminated a “very circuitous” route from I-81 to the site via U.S. 11 and Corning Way, DiLella said.
“When you were showing potential users that site, it was not ideal,” he said.
In discussing the investment, DiLella noted that the development is exceptional due to the lack of Class A warehouse/distribution construction in the area between Hagerstown and Winchester, Va.
On its website, Equus promotes the park’s building features, including a 32-foot clearance height, pre-cast concrete walls, single-loaded truck court with two drive-in doors, a 52-foot-by-50-foot column spacing with a 60-foot speed bay, 45 dock locations and a 410-foot building depth.
DiLella said if “someone is coming in the market looking for anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 square feet in a modern building … it doesn’t exist.”
The new warehouse/logistics park is being marketed as being within a one-day drive of nearly 40 percent of the country’s population.