Ridge Heeds Sunshine State’s Call for Logistics

Transwestern's industrial development arm launches a major project in the Tampa suburbs.

Industrial users are clamoring for more space in the Tampa suburb of Lakeland, Fla., and Ridge Development is answering the call. Ridge, the industrial development division of Transwestern Development Co., has started construction of the first phase of Lakeland Logistics Center, a 490,000-square-foot industrial park.

It’s a timely endeavor, explained Steve Kros, executive vice president with Ridge. “Demand for large distribution space in the area is set to accelerate over the next few years as customers continue to demand fast lead times for products,” Kros told Commercial Property Executive.

Ridge is partnering with AEW Capital Management to create of Lakeland Logistics, which will span 46.5 acres and carry the address of 2011–2211 W. Memorial Blvd. Location is key to this project.  Sited roughly 35 miles east of Tampa and 55 miles south of Orlando and within close proximity of the I-75 corridor, the Class A industrial park will allow tenants to accommodate same-day delivery anywhere in Florida.

Why Lakeland? To begin with, Lakeland’s 3.3 percent vacancy rate is the lowest of the major industrial markets in Florida, according to a first quarter report by Cushman & Wakefield Inc., which is overseeing leasing at Lakeland Logistics.

“Amazon built 1 million square feet in the area last year, which validated the area as an Internet retailer location,” Kros noted. “At the same time, there are other lead-time sensitive products such as auto parts and medical devices that continue to expand in the area.” Overall net absorption was positive during the first quarter at more than 83,000 square feet, Cushman & Wakefield reported.

In addition to prime accommodations for large-scale tenants, the industrial park project features approximately 6 acres of excess land that could ultimately include retail space for two or three users.  “It may provide a nice amenity in the future,” Kros said.

Construction of Lakeland Logistics’ initial first 245,000-square-foot distribution building is on track to reach completion by the end of 2015. The property’s second 245,000-square-foot phase is a build-to-suit opportunity that’s ready for the taking.