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JESSUP, MD-Lancaster Foods LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Guest Services Inc., has acquired a 215,000-sf warehouse here for $14.5 million from a Giant Foods partnership.

Next, the company plans to invest almost as much as it paid for the facility–which is located off Conowingo Avenue, at 7600 Assateague Rd.–to have it meet LEED certification, according to one broker facilitating the transaction. Lancaster expects to begin operations in Q1 2008.

Ben Meisels, VP at CB Richard Ellis represented the buyer. The seller was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle and Preston Partners.

Meisels tells GlobeSt.com that finding the facility for Lancaster had not been easy given its requirements and geographic constraints–and that was without an additional green mandate. “This was an expansion for Lancaster; they have an existing warehouse located around the corner from where they eventually wound up, which no longer was able to keep up with its capacity demands.”

Among the company’s requirements: a building within a five mile radius of the current location, certain specifications regarding clear height, enough space for outside storage with trailers, the potential for rail services, and a minimum 200,000 sf that had the ability to expand.

The new property is situated on 24 acres and provides a great deal of flexibility regarding outside storage needs, Meisels says. “We were very lucky–there are not a lot of buildings that meet these specifications here.”

Even fewer are LEED certified, he adds, although demand for LEED certification is starting to come up more and more in the submarket and surrounding area. LEED certification makes sense for Lancaster given its produce and floral business line, he says.

Company president John Gates points to the health and environmental reasons as factors as well. “Now we have the chance to certify ourselves as a leader in the region and the industry,” he says.

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