Investors are adding industrial space to meet booming demand in Savannah, with more than 1.7 million square feet of warehousing recently completed, more than 1.9 million square feet under construction, and a 2,700-acre development just announced. The investments mean additional jobs, and room for port customers to grow in the Southeastern U.S.
"These commitments by the private sector on numerous commercial real estate projects show confidence in the continued success of Savannah as a cargo hub for the U.S. Southeast," said Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz. "As Savannah's logistical advantages continue to draw new customers to Georgia, demand should remain strong for additional industrial space."
Foltz said the market requires higher vacancy rates to ensure space upon demand for customers that do not have the luxury of time for construction. Currently, seven major projects are being developed.
"Georgia has been named the best state in the nation to do business year after year," said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. "Accolades such as this, along with assets including the Port of Savannah, attract investments which increase jobs for our communities."
Griff Lynch, incoming executive director at the Georgia Ports Authority, said the new developments provide an excellent market opportunity for the Port of Savannah. "In conjunction with the expanded Panama Canal opening this year, and construction on the Savannah Harbor deepening under way, this additional space off terminal will complement GPA's efforts to draw business to the region," Lynch said.
"Each of these projects represent significant economic opportunity and job creation for Georgia," said GPA Board Chairman James Walters. "We couldn't be more pleased that the private sector is stepping up to support Georgia's existing and future opportunities in global trade."
David Sink, a principal in the Savannah office of Colliers International, predicted continued strong demand for sites and warehouse space. "We are likely to see more announcements and we are very likely to see some more speculative construction based on the interest we have seen from development companies," he said.
Counting all industrial space, including manufacturing, the Savannah market comprises just over 46.4 million square feet, with 1.4 million square feet (3.04 percent) vacant, according to the Colliers report.
Recent industrial announcements in the Savannah market include:
- Rail provider and industrial real estate company OmniTRAX announced in March plans for a 2,700-acre industrial park within minutes of the Port of Savannah. In a public-private partnership with the Effingham County Industrial Development Authority, OmniTRAX will develop the megasite, which is served by both Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation railroads. OmniTRAX will provide capital for infrastructure including a rail system to connect the tenants to the Class 1 rail operators. Customers of the site are expected to be manufacturers, processers, distributors and others.
- OA Logistics/ JLA Home will soon open its 1.1 million-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center at Northport industrial park on Ga. 21 near Interstate 95. This development will add 200-300 jobs. The company already operates a 679,000-square-foot distribution center in Savannah.
- Rugs and home furnishing seller Safavieh, which already has two properties in Savannah, is currently building a 500,000 square-foot facility at the corner of Jimmy Deloach Parkway and Benton Boulevard, featuring 100 loading docks.
- The TPA Group has a 475,000 square-foot warehouse under construction at Northport.
- The Panattoni Development Company is building a 312,000 square-foot building in the Westport trade park, just off Ga. 307/Bourne Avenue in Garden City. Meanwhile, a 320,000 square-foot structure has been built at Centerpoint Industrial Park.
- Port City Logistics, with the construction of a 250,000 square-foot warehouse on Jimmy Deloach Parkway.
- In the Pooler Distribution Complex at Old Louisville Road and Highway 80, several buildings ranging from 22,000 to 88,000 square feet are under construction, as well as a 240,000 square-foot structure.
- Nordic Cold Storage opened its new facility April 15, expanding by 200,000 square feet.
In January, Georgia Marine Warehouse, Inc., an affiliate of Peeples Industries, Inc., opened a 100,000 square-foot warehouse on Tremont Road, just four miles from Garden City Terminal, with another 60,000 square feet under construction.