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Crescent Communities entering Lakeland with spec industrial development, eye on other opportunities

Crescent Communities has started construction on Lakeland North Business Center, a speculative industrial park with 300,000 square feet of available space.
Crescent Communities has started construction on Lakeland North Business Center, a speculative industrial park with 300,000 square feet of available space. (Handout)

Crescent Communities and real-estate developer Native Development Group have teamed up for Crescent Communities’ first project in Lakeland – a nearly 300,000 square foot speculative industrial development at Chestnut Road and State Road 546.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Crescent Communities started construction to build two commercial buildings totaling 299,241 square feet with 32-feet clear height and dock-high loading. Completion is expected this time next year when the developer hopes to have a tenant or tenants in place – either lessee or a buyer, director of development Jennifer Sharabba told GrowthSpotter.

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“The project is located just a mile off of I-4, which is the heart of travel of the east and west travel in Florida. You don’t have to hit any traffic lights to get to our project,” Sharabba said. “We are hoping to lease the facility way ahead of completion of construction.”

Crescent Communities has a long history in Central Florida with offices in Orlando and commercial projects in the area since the 1990s, Sharabba said. Lakeland is attractive to the company because of its dramatic growth, available land and proximity to train and airline transportation and major interstates – both north and south and east and west, she said. In Polk County I-4 stretches from west of SR 570 (Polk Parkway) to west of US 27 Interchange and consists of 10 interchanges.

The larger of the two warehouse buildings is about 180,000 square feet. The smaller building is about 120,000 square feet.
The larger of the two warehouse buildings is about 180,000 square feet. The smaller building is about 120,000 square feet. (Handout)

“It’s just that confluence of opportunities that are in that market and we certainly would like to take advantage of that,” Sharabba said.

Alpharetta, Ga, based Native is run by Joseph McGorrey, principal and former Crescent Communities employee.

“The partnership behind this project feels like old friends coming together,” McGorrey said. “Lakeland North Business Center’s shallow-to-medium bay size is something new and unique for the rapidly-growing Lakeland location. It will inevitably expand the types of businesses moving to the area and bring more diversification.”

The project adds to the over 3.5 million square feet of speculative warehouse space now under construction in the West Polk County submarket.

The developers were able to secure another 10 acres, which allows them to expand the facility to 1 million square feet.

The rear-load warehouses and distribution facilities will sit on about 28 acres and include 89 trailer-parking spaces and 247 car spots. Crescent Communities is offering interior office build-to-suit opportunities at what is being called Lakeland North Business Center. It paid $2.26 million for the property at the end of June. The sellers retained 7 acres for future commercial development.

Crescent Communities’ expected interest industries include anything from distribution, e-retailers, to research and development and logistics, Sharabba said. These fit into the Central Florida Development Council’s target industries as well as Lakeland’s.

Lakeland’s location between Tampa and Orlando is reason for the community’s absorption of more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing/warehouse space annually, with more than 30 million square feet in the entire market, according the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.

Get the latest on Polk County's booming logistics hub along the I-4 corridor.

“The shallow-bay industrial site has access to 20 million people within a five-hour drive, and a population of 8.8 million within a 100-mile radius making it well-suited for a regional distribution hub,” Crescent Communities said in a press release, also citing nationally recognized companies that anchor the community including Publix Super Markets headquarters, and leasing by Amazon, Walmart, IKEA, and UPS.

The Lakeland property could be split into leases of as little as 20,000-30,000 square feet or for the entire 300,000 square feet in the two buildings, Sharabba said. Newmark Knight Frank’s Rick Narkiewicz is marketing the industrial park for Crescent Communities. Project architect is Horton Harley and Carter, based in Tampa. Lakeland-based JSK Consulting is the civil engineer. Itasca – out of Tampa is the general contractor.

The Chestnut road property is Cresent Communities’ only land in Lakeland, however the company is interested in more, Sharabba said. “We certainly are interested in exploring other opportunities and we would be interested in that,” she said.

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

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