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Becknell Industrial buys land for Phase 2 spec warehouses west of airport

Becknell Industrial buys land for Phase 2 spec warehouses west of airport
Highlighted in blue are the nearly 90 acres now owned by Becknell Industrial within the Air Commerce Park, south of 8th Street and west of Tradeport Drive and the Orlando International Airport. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Indianapolis-based developer Becknell Industrial paid $8.5 million last Thursday for another 50 acres at the Mulvaney brothers' Air Commerce Park assemblage west of Orlando International Airport, where it should break ground this summer on a second phase of speculative warehouses totaling 533,000 square feet.

Recorded on Monday morning, the land buy brings Becknell's local investment to nearly 90 acres in the past year, and more than 1 million square feet of spec industrial expected by late 2018.

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"We're doing this in several markets around the country where fundamentals support the spec development, and in Orlando it's further justified by the lack of land," senior vice president of development Dan Fogarty told GrowthSpotter on Monday. "We consider this one of the last large tracts of industrial land in Orlando as well."

Local real estate investors Kenneth and Brian Mulvaney have been looking for developers to buy portions of 239.54 acres of ex-Navy training property they've acquired across two rounds of transactions, in February 2008 and April 2016.

Of that total, the Mulvaneys now still own more than 150 acres contiguous available for sale, a mass accessible via 8th Street, Boggy Creek Road and Rayburn Street.

The property offers easy access to the airport, BeachLine Expressway, Florida's Turnpike, Interstate 4, and nearby rail lines.

Becknell previously paid $7 million in March 2016 for 40.68 acres of Mulvaney property, at 3650 8th St. Its Phase 1 on that site is a 478,400-square-foot distribution center, with pre-lease tenants Mattress Firm and Sherwood Bedding taking a combined 309,400 square feet well before the land acquisition last year.

Becknell should have its certificate of occupancy for that building in April, Fogarty said. The remaining 169,000 square feet is being marketed by CBRE Inc.

Last week's purchase of another 50 acres directly west is for Becknell's Phase 2 of spec-built industrial, with a planned 400,000-square-foot cross-dock facility and a 133,000-square-foot single-loader warehouse, Fogarty said.

"Now that we have closed on that we'll move forward with permitting. Our design is pretty much finalized, and we would build those two buildings simultaneously," he said. "We should have permits in hand by June 1, and that's when we'd start moving earth."

Estimated at more than $35 million in investment for Phase 2, Becknell serves as its own architect and general contractor on the project, while Florida Engineering Group is the civil engineer.

"There are noo pre-lease signings there yet, but we have prospects for a large portion of the larger building," Fogarty said. "If Phase 2 goes as well as we expect it to, we may take down more land from the Mulvaneys or find more in (the Orlando) market."

Another Indianapolis-based developer, Scannell Properties, has had about 42 acres under contract with the Mulvaneys since Summer 2016, and was expected to file plans for a new 352,000-square-foot warehouse, GrowthSpotter reported last August.

That sale has not closed, and the contract deadline is this Thursday.

Development executives with Scannell did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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