Orlando-based Cadence Partners has for years been working toward a plan to bring more than 760,000 square-foot of warehouse space to Apopka as part of its Northstar Logistics Center industrial park.
But even though the developer has yet to begin vertical construction on that project — and while the second phase is still pending approval from the city — company leaders have already set their sights on an expansion.
Cadence and its real estate investment partner, Clarion Partners, are close to finalizing the purchase of 26 acres just to the north of the not-yet-finished Northstar site that would one day hold another collection of warehouses, Cadence’s founder, Todd Watson, told GrowthSpotter.
“We should close on that land in the next two to three weeks,” Watson said. “We have some very good partners who believe in this market.”
The vision for Cadence and Clarion is to eventually establish 1.3 million square feet of warehouse space in an area, within five miles of the Apopka airport, that’s quickly establishing itself as the hottest spot in the Orlando metro area for industrial growth.
According to a market report by national brokerage firm Colliers International, there was 4.2 million square foot of industrial space under construction across Central Florida in the first quarter of 2022. More than a third of that development during that timeframe, 1.9 million square feet worth, is happening in Northwest Orange County. That region had a vacany rate of 3.6% in the first quarter, the report says.
The Northstar Logistics Center is going up at the corner of S.R. 417 and Ocoee Apopka Road. When the project was introduced in June of last year, conceptual plans showed five industrial buildings ranging between 79,724 square feet to about 400,000 square feet. As part of phase one, the construction of two buildings — of 86,924 and 79,724 square-foot — is expected to start within the next week, Watson said.
Plans for phase two of the Northstar Logistics Center were submitted to the city of Apopka on April 20, charting out the eventual construction of two 97,625 square-foot warehouse buildings along with a 373,778 square-foot warehouse building.
In addition to this ongoing project, Cadence Partners also recently completed building a 189,000-square-foot speculative industrial park about two miles south. Those two warehouses have attracted tenants. Just Floors, Inc has moved into one while Omicron Tile and Granite has set up shop in the other.
Industrial activity is springing up across Apopka, which benefits from available land and a prime location along a busy interstate and four major highways that provide connectivity throughout Florida. It has quick access to I-4, as well as SR 441, SR 414, SR 451 and SR 429. The latter is slated for an extension along metro Orlando’s western edge, with work expected to wrap by 2023.
Industrial developers have been able to move in thanks to large stretches of open land, no longer used for the citrus farms and plant nurseries it was originally intended for.
“The completion of the Western beltway is expected to be complete by the first quarter of next year and at that point in time there will be greater connectivity as an alternative to I-4,” Watson said. “And then there’s the background of Apopka.”
“That’s been historically an agricultural district, and as some of that industry has waned, I think the question is: What you do with that land? Industrial just seems to be a great use,” Watson said.
Cadence and Clarion assembled about 55 acres of land for the envisioned NorthStar Logistics Park for $5.6 million in March. The sellers included a trust led by property investor and developer Daryl Carter, the estate of Joseph L. Sandroni and John H. Talton Enterprises Inc.
Nearby, to the west, 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.
As reported by GrowthSpotter in early May, Blue Steel is also eyeing an adjacent chunk 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.
AdventHealth 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.
Apopka is also home to the Mid-Florida Logistics Park. 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.
Cadence Partners has developed over 1.9 million square feet of industrial real estate in the state of Florida, with eight projects currently in progress, according to its website.
None are bigger than the Northstar park planned for Apopka, Watson said. The first phase will be done within 10 months and it will be completely built out in 18 months, he told GrowthSpotter.