A South Carolina-based entrepreneur and real estate investor is exploring new phased warehouse development for 65 acres near Orlando's 33rd Street Industrial Park, with a key wetland conversion approval still ahead.
Located north of the 5300 block of LB McLeod Road, the property known as the "Kennedy Campus" is owned by an investment affiliate of Bill Kennedy, founder of corporation Nephron Pharmaceuticals.
Kennedy paid $4 million in 2010 for the land. Prior to that, his family trust bought an adjacent 5.3 acres in 2002 for $1.375 million, and in 2011 built a distribution center for Nephron.
The company invested heavily in state-of-the-art robotics for its Orlando distribution center, which features 67,430 square feet of rentable area and a 21,000-square-foot, 115-foot-high automated pallet racking system.
But they closed the facility in 2016 to consolidate operations in South Carolina, and have been unable to lease it since. The property is now being marketed for sale by Lou Payas of Payas Commercial Real Estate.
With Orlando's industrial real estate market hotter than ever, Kennedy is revisiting development for the 65 acres. A conceptual site plan forecasts four new warehouse buildings on the property ranging from 57,600 square feet to 137,000 square feet, totaling 410,600 square feet of gross floor area.
The owner first needs to get City of Orlando approval for a small wetland taking on the property, which has already been permitted by the South Florida Water Management District and Army Corps of Engineers.
Micky Grindstaff of Shutts & Bowen and Richard Lis of Harris Civil Engineers met with city planning staff in June to discuss a Growth Management Plan change to the property from Conservation/Resource Protection to Industrial/Resource Protection, in order to convert a small wetland to a retention pond, and Planned Development zoning.
Three new retention ponds would accompany the buildings on site. No formal master plan has been filed with the city yet.
Local developer and CRE consultant Don Ammerman is assisting Kennedy on prospective layouts for the property. He told GrowthSpotter the four-building plan is conceptual only, and declined further comment until a formal master plan is produced.
Ammerman also holds a trustee stake in eight acres along LB McLeod Road that were developed as the 120,000-square-foot McLeod Business Park in 2000.
With 126 buildings and more than 5.05 million square feet of inventory, the 33rd Street/LB McLeod submarket area had the sixth lowest overall vacancy rate for industrial (2.7 percent) among 14 local submarkets tracked by Cushman & Wakefield in its new Second Quarter 2018 market report.
The submarket's overall weighted average rental rate for Q2 was $10.24 per square foot (3rd highest) among those 14. For larger warehouse/distribution properties the vacancy rate was 0.9 percent (4th lowest), and weighted average rent was $5.66 (7th highest).