The Tampa Bay Business Journal | July 15, 2020
Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, Senior Reporter
A developer best known in the Tampa Bay region for its multifamily buildings is pursuing its first industrial project in Lakeland.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Crescent Communities — whose Novel-branded apartments have sprung up around Tampa in recent years — is building Lakeland Business Center North in a partnership with Native Development Group. Crescent built office and industrial developments throughout Florida in the 1990s and early 2000s, but this is their first in Lakeland.
The project, at 900 and 902 North Chestnut Road, consists of two warehouses totaling 299,241 square feet. Crescent and Native paid $2.3 million for the 27.5-acre site, according to the seller, Transwestern Real Estate Services.
The sale closed June 26 and construction began almost the next day said Brendan Pierce, Crescent senior managing director. Rick Narkiewicz, senior managing director at Newmark Knight Frank in Tampa, is marketing the buildings for Crescent.
Itasca Construction Associates is the general contractor on the project. Pierce estimated construction costs will range from $20 million to $23 million, and said the partners are targeting a completion date in the first quarter of 2021.
“We think it will pan out quite well, given the demand,” he said.
JLL recently forecast that the U.S. could need an additional 1 billion square feet of warehouse space by 2025. The novel coronavirus pandemic has accelerated a trend in online shopping, and JLL predicts that that behavior will stay with consumers long after the pandemic has passed.
Central Florida, experts say, will likely see interest in its industrial real estate ratchet up even more in the coming years.
With its location at Interstate 4 and West Memorial Boulevard, the development will target distribution users, Pierce said. The I-4 corridor, especially near Lakeland, is a sought-after location for third-party logistics companies, food distributors, health care companies, e-commerce operations, and more.
Crescent is already looking for land positions in the Lakeland area.
“We’re a huge believer in the growth of the industrial market in the Central Florida market,” Pierce said.
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