Ridgeline, Hillwood JV to Develop 1.1 MSF Braselton Commerce Center in Atlanta Submarket

There’s a genuine dearth of modern big-box industrial product in metropolitan Atlanta, and Ridgeline Property Group and Hillwood Investment Properties are primed to help fill the void.
Braselton Commerce Center

There’s a genuine dearth of modern big-box industrial product in metropolitan Atlanta, and Ridgeline Property Group and Hillwood Investment Properties are primed to help fill the void. The partners have revealed their plans to develop Braselton Commerce Center, an approximately 1.1 million-square-foot speculative distribution center in Braselton, Ga.

The motivation for the project is simple: “There is no Class A distribution space in Jackson County available for lease,” Mike Gray, president of RPG, told Commercial Property Executive.

Braselton Commerce Center will sprout up on a 115-acre site in metropolitan Atlanta’s largest industrial market, I-85/Northeast, where demand for state-of-the-art industrial space is high and the supply of such accommodations is low.

“Northeast Atlanta is the strongest industrial submarket in metro Atlanta. Fundamentals have never been stronger and the market is starved for quality and modern product,” Gray said. “Strong absorption has occurred over the last 18 months, and Atlanta led the nation in absorption in the first and second quarters of 2014.”

The numbers also paint a picture of a market in need. According to a report by Colliers International, the commercial real estate firm that RPG and Hillwood have tapped to market Braselton Commerce Center, the occupancy level in Northeast is 9.2 percent, one of the lowest of Atlanta’s submarkets. “The demand driver for industrial is a mix of local and regional expansion and new organic growth,” Gray said. But it’s not simply Class A space that is so highly sought after. Across the Atlanta metro area, Northeast included, big-block, Class A space is hard to come by these days.

“E-retailing has changed bulk product requirements and new product is warranted and needed to accommodate e-retailers,” Gray added. “Higher ceiling heights, greater bay spacing, more level and flat slabs, heavier structures, and more car and trailers parks are required for this use.”

In the second quarter, there were only six options for premier industrial digs with 500,000 square feet or more, yet there were more than 8 million square feet of industrial prospects in the market, per the Colliers report. Braselton Commerce Center will help reduce the gulf between big-box supply and demand, offering the largest contiguous block of premier distribution space available, not just in greater Atlanta, but in the Southeast region.

RPG and Hillwood expect to break ground on Braselton Commerce Center in November, and complete the project in the second quarter of 2015.