Polk County Developments

Atlanta-based developer pays $3.3M for former Lakeland drag strip land

This conceptual plan for a 750,000-square-foot warehouse was filed with the application for mass grading the former Lakeland Dragstrip property on S.R. 33. The site is nextdoor to the expanding CenterState Logistics Center.

Local real estate broker and blueberry farmer Randy Knapp has brought in an Atlanta-based development firm to partner on a new 700,000-square-foot distribution warehouse in the heart of Lakeland's logistics hub.

Ackerman & Co. is a full-service commercial real estate brokerage and development company with more than 35 million square feet of office, medical, retail and mixed-used space developed in the southern United States. The firm owns or manages more than 40 industrial properties in the metro-Atlanta area, but this would be its first major project in Central Florida.


A Knapp-Ackerman affiliate paid $3.3 million earlier this month for the former Lakeland Dragstrip property on S.R. 33. The 56-acre parcel abuts the CenterState Logistics Center, where Brennan Investment Group is currently building a 440,000-square-foot spec warehouse.

Knapp received a mass grading permit in late July from the Southwest Florida Water Management District for the dragstrip property. JSK Consulting is the project engineer.


The cross-dock warehouse is designed by Randall Paulson using tilt-up exterior concrete wall construction with 154 dock-high doors and four oversize ramps. It would have 40-foot clear heights to maximize efficiency and parking for 180 trailers and 400 autos.

Ackerman has developed warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities for a national client list that includes Coca-Cola Enterprises, FedEx, LG Electronics and AAA Cooper Transport, Inc.

Knapp and his family have been involved in real estate development and farming for generations. They own Five Star Family Growers, a 250-acre blueberry farm and packing house in Auburndale.

Transwestern Senior Vice President for Industrial Properties Julian Brown is working with Knapp to market the property, dubbed "Dragstrip Logistics Center."

Last week, IKEA announced plans for a new 326,000-square-foot e-commerce fulfillment center on Allen K. Breed Highway in west Lakeland, to serve the Tampa, Orlando and Miami markets.

In July, Transwestern subsidiary Ridge Development filed construction plans for the first phase of a 1.35 million-square-foot distribution center on Lakeland Hills Boulevard.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.