Birmingham, Ala.-based real estate investment firm Graham Commercial Properties paid $40.2 million on Sept. 20 for Lake County's largest industrial warehouse building, drawn by credit tenants and Central Florida's growing role in the e-commerce boom.
Located at 19925 Independence Blvd., the Lake County Distribution Center (LCDC) in Groveland is 100 percent leased to two tenants: Samsung SDS America and Niagara Bottling.
It serves as Samsung's new Southeast distribution facility and as Niagara's distribution hub to service its bottling facility less than a mile away. The 706,722-square-foot property is an ideal central distribution point for the state, GCP's president Gardner Lee told GrowthSpotter on Friday.
GCP is adding strategically located mid-size bulk distribution properties in fast-growing markets across the Southeast to its portfolio.
Lee said the explosion of e-commerce has spiked demand for larger, strategically located warehouses, enabling distributors to deliver quickly to beat the 24-hour clock that e-commerce promises. In the past, Atlanta was considered the central hub which serviced all of Florida. That is changing, and Central Florida facilities are now servicing the state.
"Prior to 2014, a 100,000-square-foot building was a big deal in Central Florida," he said. "In the last two years, it has dramatically changed, and you see big boxes being built that once were exclusive to Atlanta.
"You can't deliver in 24 hours to Florida out of Atlanta anymore," Lee continued. "Florida is becoming its own hub."
GCP is continuously looking for mid-size bulk distribution investment opportunities in Central Florida, he said, adding there are a "plethora" of deals for more than 500,000-square-foot warehouses strategically looking to be located near good transportation corridors.
The Lake County purchase is close to the Florida Turnpike, which makes it a good location, but the nearly completed S.R. 429 Beltway makes it an even better investment.
"Ten years ago, this property would have been considered way out," Lee said.
GCP owns approximately 7 million square feet of industrial real estate space in the Southeast with plans for continued expansion, including Central Florida. Earlier this year, GCP purchased a 119,297-square-foot warehouse in Lakeland leased by pallet manufacturer CHEP USA.
GCP's other target growth markets include Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Jacksonville.