Edgewater Ventures, a commercial real estate investment company, plans to build a speculative industrial development at the ILM business park. (Courtesy of Edgewater Ventures)

WILMINGTON – Two companies plan to invest a total of $ 120 million to build 1 million square feet of industrial development in ILM’s growing business park, located on the airport campus.

County leaders and airport officials announced at a press conference Thursday that commercial developers CIL Capital, LLC and Edgewater Ventures have signed long-term land leases with the intention of remaining in the park for at least 30 years old.

“It’s not just a one-time influx of money,” Julia Olson-Boseman, chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, also a member of the airport authority, told the conference. “These are real and sustainable investments that will increase our local tax base, increase jobs and improve economic development opportunities for our region. These companies have chosen New Hanover County and our ILM Business Park because of the opportunities it offers.

The 140-acre complex is located on the airport campus –– close to highways, railways and the Port of Wilmington –– and has access to customs and foreign trade zone status.

“It really is a prime location,” continued Olson-Boseman, who also said she had been unable to sleep the night before due to the excitement over the announcement.

RELATED: ILM appoints new airport manager, nearly 5 months after former manager was sacked

“This is a tremendous investment not only for Wilmington, but also for the airport,” said Donna Girardot, president of the New Hanover County Airport Authority, in an interview. “And I hope it acts as a catalyst to attract future companies, and maybe satellite companies as well.”

CIL Capital, LLC is developing a 500,000 square foot storage and distribution facility for the life science industry. Founder and CEO Michael Hockett noted that North Carolina is the second largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the United States, but ranks 17th for cold room distributors. “Having said that there is a void here that someone can fill,” Hockett said after the conference.

In recent months, plans for two more cold stores have been announced in the region. Cold Summit Development is continuing a 280,000 square foot cold storage facility on Raleigh Street near the port, and RealtyLink is developing 300,000 square feet of refrigerated storage space at Pender Commerce Park.

Edgewater Ventures, a commercial real estate investment company, plans to build a speculative Class A industrial development with three buildings. The structures will total more than 540,000 square feet on approximately 30 acres.

READ MORE: Speculative industrial developments on the rise after a decade of drought

Two of the facilities will total 213,000 square feet and will serve several tenants and load transport vehicles with goods from the rear. The third building, a transloading facility, will cover 330,000 square feet and will include 180-foot-deep truck lots with trailer storage.

“These are extremely nice facilities,” said Chris Norvell, senior industrial development partner at Edgewater Ventures, in an interview. “They are at the cutting edge of technology. They are comparable to anything you would see in one of the biggest markets in the country. They will certainly be on the cusp of being a great employer base once we sign leases and bring businesses into the buildings. And given the location and everything, we think it’s going to happen very quickly.

Types of tenants are expected to range from e-commerce and air freight companies to any other business that can benefit from airport filling and location.

“Typically, the most popular industrial facilities tend to be in and around airports,” Norvell said. “Because a lot of businesses are trying to locate near airports, people come from airports, they want easy access from airports, and this place, in particular,… [i]It’s easy to get to. We just think it’s a must-have.

The three buildings will feature tilting concrete construction, glass lines and high ceilings to store products 32 to 36 feet high. Plus, the real estate group touts early removal, quick-response sprinkler systems throughout, and sufficient on-site parking for workers.

The company planned to sign the site’s engineering proposal later today, Norvell said at the conference.

In the ILM statement, Hockett explained that recent investments in the Wilmington Port and Airport have given the region a competitive advantage over larger metropolitan areas, which face supply chain and capacity issues. . According to Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development, there is significant demand for the life sciences industry in particular.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” Satterfield told the conference. “As global supply chains adapt to the post-pandemic world, multimodal transport assets – sites, nearby ports, airports and interstate highways – are in greater demand than ever. In this new era, modern and strategically positioned industrial spaces are considered trophy properties. “

President Girardot said all parties have embarked on months of work to finalize the agreements. This includes the county, Wilmington Business Development and representatives from each company. The airport authority met behind closed doors Wednesday evening to approve the plans. (He also appointed a new airport manager in the same session.)

Norvell said it took about 20 months to reach the point of signing the lease, which included site review, market research and negotiation.

“This is a pivotal day for Wilmington’s economy,” Satterfield continued. “These two facilities will add an exciting new dimension to the wave of high quality industrial products that has arrived in our region in recent years.

ILM Business Park is currently home to seven fully leased flexible space units, a Circle K under construction at the corner of 23rd Street and Airport Boulevard, and a number of plots still available.

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