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Real Estate - Commercial

New Firm Aims To Grow Its Stake In Wilmington's Industrial Real Estate

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jan 23, 2020
A new commercial real estate investment firm has three Wilmington industrial properties in its portfolio and a possible industrial development on its way this year.

Raleigh-based Edgewater Ventures was founded by commercial brokers Chris Norvell, Justin Good and Scot Humphrey, the firm's founding principles, in December and has hit the ground running with nearly 1.4 million square feet of industrial assets across the Carolinas, according to a news release.

That includes nearly 900,000 square feet of industrial space in the Wilmington market, officials said in the release. The firm is also planning new developments, expecting to break ground on more than 300,000 square feet this summer.

That includes the firm's plans for a 150,000-square-foot industrial building somewhere in the Wilmington area, Norvell said this week.

Norvell and the Edgewater team have spent a significant amount of time looking for sites in and around the Wilmington area to build speculative Class A industrial space, he said, declining to share the specific details this week of where the project will be and what it’s for.

​The firm focuses on the acquisition and development of industrial, office, multifamily and mixed-use assets in the Carolinas, according to the release.

Of the firm's existing assets in the market, it has three industrial buildings between New Hanover and Brunswick counties. The founding partners acquired the three properties prior to the official start of Edgewater Ventures and are the controlling entity of all three assets, Norvell said.

The three brokers' entry into the Wilmington area industrial market took place in July 2017, when they purchased a property at 4151 Emerson St., Norvell said, adding that the 51,000-square-foot building on the property has two tenants.

The group also purchased the former boat manufacturing facility at 100 Quality Drive in Navassa last summer. The building is currently undergoing work for Pacon Manufacturing. Last spring, New Jersey-based Pacon announced it was bringing a manufacturing facility to the space, with plans to create 299 jobs and invest more than $37 million.

The Navassa transaction comprises a long-term sale-leaseback of the facility to Pacon Manufacturing, Norvell said at the time the purchase was announced in 2019.

On top of the Navassa site, the company also owns the former DAK warehouse building at 2975 Andrew Jackson Highway in Leland. The investors bought the facility last spring.

The 505,000-square-foot building has four tenants, including Kesseböhmer USA, which occupies roughly 200,000 square feet, and Meridien Marketing & Logistics, which has about 100,000 square feet of space inside the building. There is another 50,000 square left to fill in the building, Norvell said. 

In March, the firm aims to start work on sprucing up the former DAK warehouse building, "giving it an entirely different look and feel," Norvell said, and is rebranding the site as the Edgewater Commerce Center and adding a new sign.

Norvell, who has conducted deals in larger markets, such as Raleigh, Charlotte and Charleston, views Wilmington as a strong market.

"All three [properties] are performing well and based on that performance, that's what has us encouraged about the market and the future of the market," said Norvell, who lives in the Wilmington area. 

"My long-term goal for us as a company is to also become active in the Wilmington area on other types of developments, not just industrial," Norvell said. "And because as developers, while always trying to find ways you're earning money on your investments, I think we're also very interested in seeing the communities we live in develop in a quality way that enhances the lifestyle of all the residents."
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