SJP Properties has broken ground on a 1 million-square-foot building that will mark the first phase of the Georgia International Commerce Centre, a 12-building, 6.5 million-square-foot logistics park in Savannah, Georgia. — Rendering courtesy: SJP Properties
By Joshua Burd
SJP Properties has made a major move into the Southeast industrial market, breaking ground on the first piece of a 12-building, 6.5 million-square-foot logistics park in Savannah, Georgia.
The longtime New Jersey and New York developer is teaming with Manulife Investment Management on the initial phase, a nearly 1 million-square-foot facility near the intersection of Route 80 and Eldora Road. That marks the start of vertical construction at what will become the Georgia International Commerce Centre, which will span 809 acres near the Port of Savannah and 2.5 miles from Interstate 16.
SJP said the property signifies its largest land acquisition to date, coming as part of a joint venture with Chesterfield and Atalaya Capital Management.
“As the Southeast experiences explosive population growth and e-commerce continues to accelerate, the demand for state-of-the-art, large-scale distribution facilities has skyrocketed,” said Steve Pozycki, CEO of SJP Properties. “We’ve spent the last four years studying industrial market fundamentals in the Southeast, and both this asset class and geographic area was a logical point of expansion for our organization’s development expertise. The Port of Savannah serves as the conduit for the world’s manufactured goods to reach more than 75 million consumers, and yet, the surrounding region has a dearth of suitable sites that meet the needs of its end users.
“We’re proud to enter Savannah’s industrial sector and eager to bring the Georgia International Commerce Centre to life alongside Chesterfield, one of the region’s premier industrial developers.”
Conceptual plans for the GICC site call for 12 buildings ranging in size from 250,000 to 1.3 million square feet, each with cross-dock, front-load or rear-load configurations, according to a news release. The first building will have 40-foot clear ceiling heights, 228 dock doors, four drive-in ramps, 273 trailer parking spots, a 185-foot-deep truck court and car parking for roughly 190 employees.
The cross-docked building is set to be delivered in July 2023. Stephen Ezelle of Gilbert & Ezelle Inc., a regional non-owned affiliate of Cushman & Wakefield, serves as its leasing agent.
“Chesterfield is excited to continue its industrial development in the Savannah area with its joint venture partners SJP Properties and Atalaya, each firm having established prominence over a long period in the real estate industry,” said Will Gardner, CEO of Chesterfield. His firm has completed more than 6 million square feet of new industrial space in Savannah over the last five years, he said, with an additional 4.5 million square feet now under construction.
SJP noted that the site has direct access to public roadways and is minutes from I-16, the primary route for transporting merchandise inland to Atlanta and points further north and west. It’s also 22 miles from the Georgia Port Authority and 18 miles from Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport.
The Port of Savannah, meantime, has garnered attention as the fastest-growing container port in the U.S. and is home to the single-largest container facility in the country, along with two modern, deep-water terminals: Garden City Terminal and Ocean Terminal. The partnership also cited GICC’s proximity to the recently announced Hyundai manufacturing facility, which will total more than 16 million square feet and include an electric vehicle assembly plant and adjacent EV battery factory.
“Capitalizing the first building of GICC amidst the current market environment corroborates Atalaya’s threefold thesis in the strength of sponsorship, market and sector selection,” said Young Kwon, head of real estate for Atalaya Capital Management. “Hyundai’s entry just minutes from our site further bolsters our Day 1 belief that the Interstate 16 Corridor presents the natural path of growth for the nation’s third-largest port in the years to come. We are excited and honored to contribute to Bryan County’s continued growth alongside world-class partners in SJP, Chesterfield, and now Manulife.”