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Real Estate - Commercial

Firm Buys 187 Acres To Expand Industrial Development

By Cece Nunn, posted Oct 12, 2023
A conceptual site plan shows how Edgewater Ventures expects to accommodate users who need up to 1 million square feet at its Wilmington Trade Center industrial park on U.S. 421. (Courtesy of Edgewater Ventures)

Developers bought 187 acres on U.S. 421 in Wilmington on Wednesday for a major expansion of one of their existing industrial projects.

Edgewater Ventures, a commercial real estate investment company, purchased the property next to Wilmington Trade Center for $7.65 million from Invista.

"The acquisition will expand Wilmington Trade Center to 212 acres and is master planned to provide up to 3.3 million square feet of Class A industrial facilities," a news release stated. "The park will be one of the largest of its kind in the state of North Carolina and is designed to accommodate industrial users up to 1 million square feet."

At Wilmington Trade Center, Edgewater has already developed two buildings totaling 315,000 square feet on the original 25-acre parcel acquired in 2021, the release stated.

"These facilities are presently 85% leased to four tenants: PaperFoam, Coastal Carrier, GLE and New Hanover County Emergency Services," according to the release. "Edgewater plans to break ground on Building 3 in the first quarter of 2024 which will add another 100,000 square feet to the growing portfolio."

Edgewater's new facilities at the trade center are expected to have 40-foot clear heights and put Wilmington on par with other Southeast ports such as Savannah and Charleston in terms of the size and quality of facilities offered to port users, the release stated.

“This is one of the most exciting moments of my 26-year career in industrial real estate,” said Chris Norvell, lead industrial partner at Edgewater Ventures, in the release. “I’ve worked on similar parks in larger Southeast markets for my entire career. But as a Wilmington resident, it's exciting to bring a park of this scale to the region which will provide great opportunities for job growth and economic development in my hometown.”

McKinley Building Corp. is the general contractor on the project.

“We’ve enjoyed a great partnership with Ken Dull and the McKinley team and look forward to keeping things rolling,” Norvell said. He said the development "wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for a few beers shared between myself, Ken and Andrew Cooke [of McKinley] at Dockside a few years ago.”

Dull said, “Partnerships like this happen when old and new visions come together to create ideas for development that can raise the bar for our community."

Economic development officials expect the additional industrial space to attract more companies to the area.

“Greater Wilmington’s center of economic gravity has been migrating to the Highway 421 corridor in recent years, and the Wilmington Trade Center is a big driver of that momentum,” said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development, in the release. “Edgewater Ventures and McKinley have been valuable partners in our efforts to compete for growth-minded global companies and livable job opportunities that benefit our entire region. We are grateful for their bold investment in Greater Wilmington’s economic future.”

Wilmington Trade Center’s first buildings all feature tilt-up concrete construction with extensive glass lines, 32-foot clear height, ESFR sprinkler systems and 180-foot truck courts.

"The expanded acreage will enable Edgewater to offer larger facilities to users in the region," the release stated, "especially large-scale distribution users that want to take advantage of the proximity to the Port of Wilmington."

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