(Read more on the industrial market.)

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC-Dallas-based Hillwood plans to break ground in the first half of 2008 on the first buildings of Charleston Trade Center. The 750-acre industrial park will include up to nine million sf.

About 13 buildings are planned for the project, which will include eight million sf of industrial space and one million of office/retail space. It is located between the Port of Charleston and Interstate 95 along the south side of Interstate 26 just east of the Jedburg Road exit. A 400,000-sf speculative building, which can be expanded to 652,340 sf, should be completed by the end of 2008. Thomas Buist Jr. and Michael Ferrer, of Grubb & Ellis/Barkley Fraser, will market the property for Hillwood.

Hillwood Investment Properties senior vice president Gary Frederick tells GlobeSt.com that leasing efforts for the project have started, but no signed leases are in place. The start date of subsequent phases of the project has not yet been determined, but the anticipated build-out of the project is 10 years.

He adds that, due to residential growth in the area subsequent phases may contain types of commercial space other than industrial. “The Interstate 26 corridor has received a lot of attention for both industrial and residential growth,” he says. “The zoning is flexible with this project so there could be office or retail space.”

With close to two million TEUs handled per year, the Port of Charleston is among the busiest ports on the East Coast and is expected to continue to grow, according to a Hillwood release. Super-post-panamax ships can be accommodated at the Port of Charleston due to channel depth/width and air draft of the new Ravenel Bridge. In addition the South Carolina State Ports Authority is building a new container terminal that will increase capacity by almost 50%, the release adds.

“Charleston Trade Center is a prime logistics location because of its proximity to Interstate 95 and to the Port of Charleston, which has become a key East Coast entry point for goods imported from Asia and should continue to handle more containers due to increased use of the Suez Canal and the expansion of the Panama Canal,” says Frederick.

Under an agreement with Berkeley County, Hillwood will spend approximately $9 million on traffic improvements in and around the Jedburg Interchange.

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