New industrial sites spur economic development in Bryan County


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VanTrust Real Estate, LLC, a full-service commercial real estate development company, recently broke ground on the 515-acre Interstate West industrial development in Bryan County.

Developments offer space within 30 miles of the Port of Savannah

Despite the challenges over the past year, the Development Authority of Bryan County (DABC) continues to focus on attracting new industries to its communities.

The DABC recently acquired approximately 200 rail-served acres in the Belfast Commerce Park in Richmond Hill.  The property is both Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) Certified and certified as a CSX Select Site. The property is being held specifically for manufacturing and assembly projects. 

Several other economic development projects in Bryan County are also under way. VanTrust Real Estate LLC, a full-service commercial real estate development company, has broken ground on the 515-acre Interstate West industrial development site.

The first phase of the project includes a 1.1 million square-foot crossdock warehouse, which is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2022. The overall project offers companies flexible capacity with the ability to accommodate distribution warehouse projects ranging from 100,000 square feet to more than 3 million square feet.

Danny Chase, a principal in the Savannah office of Colliers International, said Interstate West is a unique development offering large-scale contiguous uplands. Chase added the flexible site design is customizable for tenants and easy to develop.

“With the explosion of container volumes at the Savannah port, tenants are looking for larger spaces,” Chase said. “There is the potential for incentives to help tenants get started. Communities in Bryan County have been great partners.” 

The site is located near I-16 and Highway 280 with access to the Port of Savannah, the largest single terminal container facility of its kind in North America. As the most westerly major port on the East Coast, Savannah reduces transit times for cargo destined for major inland markets such as Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis and Charlotte.

“Interstate West fits the VanTrust strategy of serving the increasing demand for Class A industrial space,” said Marc Munago, vice president of development at VanTrust. “Savannah has long been on our radar based upon the market’s great fundamentals, and we look forward to developing in the market and supporting the Georgia Ports Authority’s continued growth.”

Another recent development is adjacent to I-16 in the Ellabell/Black Creek area. CRG has just delivered a 700,000 square-foot speculative building in the Interstate Centre II industrial park. Chris Tomasulo, senior managing director for JLL, said that interest has been strong given the last of space that is available for immediate occupancy in this size range.

“What’s happening right now in Savannah is no secret,” Tomasulo said. “There is considerable interest from investors, capital partners and developers wanting to capitalize on the momentum and demand generated by tenants and users wanting to be in this market.”

 Tomasulo noted that proximity to the interstate interchange is a key selling point, with easy access to the port via I-16 and Hwy 80. Tomasulo said working with the DABC and the pro-business community in Bryan County have been beneficial to attracting more investment to the area.

Since November 2015, the DABC has announced 14 projects representing more than $200 million of private capital investment and more than 1,000 jobs.

“I think the growth in industrial development in Bryan County and the surrounding area is due to a few different factors.  For the area generally, I think the Port of Savannah is a huge driver for growth, particularly in the warehousing and distribution sector,” said DABC Chairman Sean Register. “I also think that our talented labor force, which is augmented by the transitioning soldiers at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, is helping to bring new companies to the area.”

Other recent developments in Bryan County include:

  • April 2020 – CZM Foundation Equipment occupied a new 38,000 square-foot facility. The facility is an assembly center and serves as the company’s world headquarters.
  • March 2020 – Medline Industries announced a 1.2 million square-foot distribution center in Richmond Hill. The project will create 150 new jobs with the potential to grow to 600 employees.
  • September 2020 – FedEx Ground announced that the company would occupy 415,000 square-feet of Medline’s facility once it is complete. The facility will operate as a new sortation facility that will allow the company to double its package capacity in the Savannah market.