Atlanta-based Stonemont Financial Group made its first investment in Groveland’s thriving industrial market in December when it paid $15.3 million for a 74-acre site across from the new Amazon distribution center in the Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park.
Now the firm is coming back for a second helping. Stonemont paid $8.1 million this month for another prime industrial site next to the new Kroger-Ocado fulfillment center with frontage along U.S. 27.
The deal was completed in two transactions: $5.6 million for the 45 northern acres from seller U.S. HWY Twenty Seven LLC and $2.5 million for the southern 25 acres at O’Brien Road and American Way from seller Gissy Holdings.
The 65-acre site was recently rezoned to light industrial. Stonemont Vice President Avery Door told GrowthSpotter the company sees this as an expansion of its existing project on Republic Drive, which will have 876,000 square feet of Class A cross-dock space. The expansion site will accommodate two cross-dock warehouse facilities of 569,000 square feet and 125,000 square feet, both built on spec.
“We don’t see this as competing with the other project because they are all different sizes,” Door said. “We like the flexibility of being able to offer anywhere from 60,000 square feet up to 860,000 square feet.”
Door said the new section will have four access points: one of U.S. 27, two on Obrien Road and one of American Way.
HGR Construction will break ground in the next 60 days on the Republic Drive warehouse and has scheduled a September construction start for the development on the second two.
The Christopher C. Ford Commerce Park was purchased by Lake County in the 1980s following catastrophic freezes that wiped out the citrus industry in the area. The county purchased the land to develop an industrial park. Other companies currently in the park include Domino’s Distribution Center, Metals USA, Carroll Fulmer Trucking, Peri Formwork Systems, Niagara Water and Dunkin Donuts.
Orlando’s Hanover Land Company broke ground last July on a new 425,000-square-foot spec industrial building across from the new Kroger fulfillment center.
Lake County has the lowest vacancy rate, at less than 1%, of any industrial submarket in the Central Florida region, according to the First Quarter 2022 market report from Collier’s. That demand and positive net absorption is driving construction activity to the county, particularly to Groveland, where Florida’s Turnpike intersects two major commercial corridors, U.S. 27 and State Road 19. Collier’s noted that the county has nearly 600,000 square feet of industrial space under construction.
Groveland also has approved construction plans for Scannell Properties’ Turnpike Logistics Center just southeast of the Stonemont property. The approved plans call for a 977,466-square-foot warehouse on roughly 94 acres of land Scannell Properties bought in July 2021 for $10.5 million.
Meanwhile, Winter Garden developer Jose Cantero also filed plans to construct a 60,000-square-foot small-bay industrial building, which is the first phase of his proposed Groveland Commerce Center. The 23-acre project is across Obrien Road from the Stonemont site. The site plan allows for future development of two additional industrial buildings, each 37,553 square feet, and three commercial outparcels fronting on U.S. 27.