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CHARLESTON, SC-A joint venture between Childress Klein and Amstar Group is going ahead with plans to develop a four-building, 890,000-sf distribution center near the Ports of Charleston. The class A warehouse/distribution center will rise on the last available 55 interior acres within the Charleston Regional Business Center (CRBC).

The development will cost between $40 million and $50 million to complete, Robert A. Toomey, vice president of Amstar, tells GlobeSt.com. The four buildings will come online in phases, with the first 350,000-sf building, and possibly the second 112,000-sf building, being delivered at the end of 2007. No ground-breaking date has been slated, but the JV is eyeing a January start, he adds.

The JV partners acquired the four parcels of land that make up the site from the Charleston-based Beach Co., the master developer of the CRBC. Toomey declines to reveal the acquisition price, citing a confidentiality agreement.

The distribution center will feature four buildings. Building one will have 351,000 sf, expandable to 700,000 sf; 30-ft clear height; cross dock loading, 50-ft column spacing; and ESFR sprinklers. Building two will have 351,000 sf, 30-ft clear height; cross dock loading; 50-ft column spacing; and ESFR sprinklers. Building three will have 112,000 sf; 24-ft clear height; front loading; 40-ft column spacing; and ESFR sprinkler. Building four will be on a 9.4-acre site and accommodate a 75,000-sf build-to-suit or lease asset.

Toomey tells GlobeSt.com there has been a lot of interest from potential tenants; however, it is too early in the development stage to discuss details. He adds that the JV has not yet determined if it will hold onto the distribution center or sell it. “The JV is flexible enough that it could do either depending on market conditions,” Toomey tells GlobeSt.com.

“The growth of international commerce and increasing import activity through the Ports of Charleston have fostered a growing demand for distribution center space within close proximity to Charleston’s port terminals,” Childress Klein partner Tricia Noble says in a statement. “Childress Klein and Amstar Group saw an opportunity to capitalize on this growing demand by acquiring the last sizable parcels of prime land at this strategically located project and moving forward immediately on this new development. With a lack of large, contiguous blocks of class A warehouse space this close to the shipping terminals and an increased user demand in the entire Charleston market over the past 18 months, we are confident that this location will be an extremely popular option with logistics operators when complete in late 2007.”

Charleston’s key port terminals are Wando Welch, Columbus Street, Union Pier, North Charleston, and the new terminal to be added at the former Charleston Navy Yard, according to the JV.

“Charleston is the nation’s fourth largest cargo processing location, occupying a position only second behind New York/New Jersey on the East Coast,” Toomey says. “These modern, class A buildings will provide a world-class location for various operators seeking cost-effective distribution center locations who require close proximity to Charleston’s port terminals. We are moving forward immediately with site preparation, and will becoming out of the ground by January 2007 on our first spec phase.”

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