A Pennsylvania-based REIT is gearing up to break ground on the final piece of its massive industrial park in Eastern Henrico.
Liberty Property Trust is planning a 130,000-square-foot warehouse at its Eastport Industrial Park near the airport. Eastport VIII, as the building will be called, will push the complex to more than 1 million square feet and will cap a project that began with the completion of Eastport I in 1989.
“Our airport submarket has outperformed quite a few of the other markets in Richmond over the last two years, and this is our last site that we have to expand our Richmond portfolio on land that we own,” said Brian Felton, a Liberty senior leasing representative.
The REIT hopes to begin construction on Eastport VIII in the spring, with plans to complete the project in the third or fourth quarter of 2014. Felton estimated total construction costs at about $60 per square foot. Plans call for 129,600 square feet, putting a total estimated cost near $7.8 million.
The company has yet to bid out the project to contractors. Ashland-based McKinney & Company did the building’s design work.
Liberty pieced together the 98-acre compound in the mid- to late 1990s. It bought the Eastport VIII site from CSX Realty in 1997. Eastport VIII will be the first new construction project at the site since Eastport VII was completed in 2008.
Liberty has yet to sign tenants for the planned building. Vice president Craig Cope said it could be leased to a single tenant or up to about six smaller tenants.
“It really caters to tenants that are smaller or midsized,” Cope said. “That’s kind of our model … this is just a continuation of the project that we have built out there.”
Eastport’s six industrial buildings are 100 percent leased, Felton said, with 37,000 square feet coming available in January. Eastport I, a flexible use building, is 93 percent occupied, with more than 5,000 square feet available.
The complex’s tenants include American Honda Motor Company, Saddle Creek Transportation and Drytac. Industrial space at Eastport rents at about $4 per square foot per year, Felton said.
The four-acre site of Eastport VIII is Liberty’s last piece of developable industrial land in the Richmond market, but Felton said the firm has one smaller piece of land on which it could build office space.
Liberty’s Richmond portfolio includes more than 3.5 million square feet of industrial and flex space. The firm held a significant amount of office space at Innsbrook before selling 900,000 square feet to Lingerfelt Development in a $100 million transaction two years ago.
The firm will turn its focus to acquisitions in Richmond moving forward, and Felton said it has an eye on properties in the areas surrounding the airport.
“Everything is always for sale. There are a couple properties that we do have our eyes on that we continue to at least track,” he said. “They aren’t directly available now but they may be in the future.”