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Blue Steel Development looks to add more industrial space to Apopka

A number of industrial parks are taking off near the Orlando-Apopka Airport and more warehouse space could be landing here soon.

The city of Apopka is currently reviewing a development plan that calls for the construction of three more distribution centers totaling 575,000 square feet.

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The developer pegged for this project is no stranger to the area. Lakeland-based Blue Steel Development stands ready to build out its Apopka 429 industrial park just west of SR 441. It covers 248 acres and can accommodate roughly 2.5 million square feet of warehouse space across three buildings, according to its website.

Blue Steel is now eyeing an adjacent assemblage of parcels to the south of that park for another trio of distribution hubs. This one is titled Alterna Logistics Park, according to site plans.

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Blue Steel Development representatives did not return phone calls or emails for this story. Jim Hitt, Apopka’s community development director, told GrowthSpotter that he understands the project to be separate from Blue Steel’s other industrial park effort, but roads would connect both sites.

This industrial park, if approved, would join a collection in the vicinity, including the Mid-Florida Logistics Park to the south. Developed by Missouri-based Blue Scope Properties Group, the park spans 180 acres with 2.3 million square feet of warehouse space and features global brands such as Amazon, Coke and Goya Foods.

In 2020, Philadelphia-based real estate investment management firm Exeter Property Group bought roughly 100 acres of land north of the Apopka 429 site. That $4.5 million acquisition also came with plans for an industrial park, though the land still sits vacant today.

“You’ve got big boys putting big money into that market,” said Trevor Hall, the Orlando-based executive managing director of land services with the national brokerage firm Collier’s International.

In 2021, Hall’s firm sold 55 acres of land along SR 441 to Orlando-based real estate company Cadence Partners LLC in 2021. The plan at the time: five industrial buildings ranging between 79,724 square feet to about 400,000 square feet.

Nearby, another industrial park, dubbed Apollo, is under construction at 4212 Hogshead Road with 594,000 square feet of warehouse distribution space at 4212 Hogshead Road.

Advent Health has plans to bring a 455,387-square-foot distribution center to Apopka, six miles from the AdventHealth Apopka Hospital located at 2100 Ocoee Apopka Rd.

At a recent NAIOP conference held at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando, Tara Tedrow, a land-use attorney with the Lowndes Lawfirm, said she represents clients who are looking to put industrial along the heavily residential Kelly Park interchange in Apopka.

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“The Kelly Park interchange district has not been unlocked in terms of its development potential, but it will be,” she said. “That industrial space is prime given its access on the interchange.”

In the first quarter of 2022, the Central Florida industrial market saw the delivery of 900,000 square feet of warehouse with another 4.2 million square feet currently under construction, according to a recent report by Colliers.

When it comes to the amount of industrial development activity in Apopka, the city benefits from two key factors: land and location.

Apopka has quick access to I-4, as well as four major highways that provide connectivity throughout Florida: US 441, SR 429, SR 414, SR 451.

“I’ve said that Apopka is the Gateway to Central Florida,” Hitt said. “And the people working on all the Industrial warehouses recognize that. Connectivity is the main factor and Apopka has that better than most any area.”

Hitt said that most of the land west of the Orlando-Apopka Airport and south of General Electric Road have sat vacant for years. Other areas, including along Hogshead Road, formerly contained nursery farms that have since closed or sold, making them ripe for industrial.

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“But we’ve made plans for many areas throughout Apopka that also include the Kelly Park Interchange and that Employment District, which will also have Industrial warehousing, and most importantly, jobs,” Hitt said.

The latest plan by Blue Steel is slated for four parcels totaling roughly 70 acres located south of the Orlando Apopka Airport and west of SR 441.

The parcels are owned by an entity known as Apopka Industrial Airport South, LLC, which purchased them all in 2021 for a total of $5.2 million.

The Florida Division of Corporations names Daniel O’ Keefe, a real estate attorney at Orlando-based law firm Shutts and Bowen, as the agent of the entity that owns the land.

O’Keefe did not return phone calls or emails.

Blue Steel has completed more than 5 million square feet of industrial real estate across multiple municipalities throughout Central Florida. The company provides pre-construction services, construction management, building and designing, general contracting and site development, according to its website.

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The company has worked with several Fortune 500 clients including FedEx Freight, The Home Depot, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ikea, its website says.

In addition to industrial growth, Apopka is also seeing a large dose of residential and commercial activity. Overall, the city has 84 development projects either in the planning phase or under construction, according to city records provided to GrowthSpotter. All told, they’d add 9,900 housing units and more than 14 million square feet of commercial space to the city’s inventory.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at (407)-800-1161 or dwyatt@GrowthSpotter.com, or tweet me at @DustinWyattGS. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


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