Improving Business in the Wilmington Region
Winston-Salem Property Developer Unveils Plans for $8 Million Spec Building at Pender Commerce Park
Taylor Development Group Will Partner with Cape Fear Commercial in 126,360-sq.-ft. Industrial Space
February 10, 2020 (Wilmington, N.C.) – Pender Commerce Partners 1, LLC (Ramm Capital Partners, LLC and Taylor Development Group, LLC) will invest $8+ million in a 126,360-sq-ft. speculative building at the fast-growing Pender Commerce Park. The Winston-Salem-based developer closed on the 15-acre property today. The move comes around two months after Pender County joined officials from India’s Polyhose in announcing plans for a 51-worker logistics and distribution operation at the park.
“We’re ready to roll,” says Chris Ramm, partner in the development and chief operations officer at Taylor Development Group. The development firm arrived in the Greater Wilmington real estate market three years ago with acquisitions of Class A office buildings at Landfall Park and Third and Grace in downtown Wilmington. After noticing a scarcity of available industrial space with modern specifications, Ramm began working with Cape Fear Commercial on opportunities to build high-quality spec space. Pender Commerce Park fit the bill. “We spent a year researching the market and looked at sites all over the region,” says Ramm, who has worked in commercial real estate for 22 years. “We kept coming back to Pender Commerce Park.”
Ramm found Pender Commerce Park appealing for several reasons. “The park has great access to the region,” he says, citing the property’s proximity to I-140, Wilmington International Airport, the Port of Wilmington and other assets. Those factors combined with the park’s modern infrastructure has already been noticed by high-profile corporate names. “Acme Smoked Fish, Empire Distributors, FedEx, Coastal Beverage and Polyhose – all these are sophisticated tenants who had done their homework,” Ramm says. Another third factor involved officials at Wilmington Business Development, to whom Ramm was introduced by his Cape Fear Commercial partners. “Working with WBD gave me the confidence that the demand is real, and the timing is right to move forward,” he says. “Their proactive marketing approach, lead generation and contacts make them an imperative partner of ours for this project.”
Plans call for groundbreaking on the spec building in February and completion during the third quarter of 2020. With its 32-foot ceiling heights, customizable dock placements and large truck courts, the facility will offer ready-to-go warehouse and distribution space for companies seeking access to growing southeastern U.S. consumer markets. Surging e-commerce activity, completion of surface transportation connections like I-140 and the installation of water and wastewater services along U.S. Highway 421 make the timing of the investment ideal, Ramm says. “Hopefully, we’re a little ahead of the curve and our foresight will pay off here.”
Pender County officials welcomed the move as yet more evidence that the county’s investment in the park continues to yield lucrative returns. “Today’s businesses want to be able to move quickly on expansion plans, and this investment by Taylor Development Group will hasten the arrival of the county’s next big industrial resident,” says George Brown, chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners. “We’re excited that a high-quality property developer shares our view that the right ingredients are in place to make Pender County an A-list destination for high-growth companies.”
Wilmington’s Cape Fear Commercial will partner with Ramm in marketing and managing the property. “We think the world of Chris and are excited that he’s going to be the first to put a product like this in,” says Paul Loukas, broker-in-charge at Cape Fear Commercial. Founded in 2001, the company is a commercial real estate leader in Southeastern North Carolina. Loukas believes the building will help move the needle on job creation efforts. “I think this move could be a catalyst for economic development in the region,” he says.
Will Leonard, senior vice president at Cape Fear Commercial, believes the marketplace will respond eagerly to the availability of such a property. “We maintain relationships with large brokerage firms around the country, and we’re close to gearing those contacts up,” he says. Two years ago, for example, the company set out to find tenants for half a million square-feet of industrial space in Leland. Today the property is fully occupied. “This is my 18th year in the business and I’ve never seen the industrial market in Greater Wilmington this strong,” Leonard says.
Ramm’s plans fit neatly into the region’s strategy for diversified economic development. “Class-A industrial product of this scale is essential in our recruitment efforts,” says Scott Satterfield, chief executive officer at Wilmington Business Development (WBD). In executing their vision for Pender Commerce Park, WBD and its Pender County partners put together the foundation for a destination that has attracted food processing, assembly, distribution and corporate headquarter operations. “What Chris Ramm and Cape Fear Commercial are doing is shifting the park into an even higher gear with the kind of state-of-the-art space that attracts national attention from high-octane companies that want a world-class environment – and are ready to move now,” Satterfield says.
Wilmington Business Development oversees business recruitment and industrial retention for the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County and Pender County. A private, non-profit organization founded in 1956, WBD supports members, partners and allies through an array of technical expertise, leadership resources and value-added business services. Visit www.wilmingtonbusinessdevelopment.com to learn more.