Winston-Salem-based Pender Commerce Partners 1 LLC is now in the process of acquiring additional land at Pender Commerce Park in order to develop its second speculative industrial building there in two years. Fresh off the completion of its 127,356 sq.-ft. spec facility at Lot 2 in the park, the company, which consists of Ramm Capital Partners LLC and Taylor Development Group LLC, is now in the due diligence period for 20 acres on Lot 6 to construct a 180,000 sq.-ft. building.
“We are very excited to continue investing in Southeastern North Carolina,” says Chris Ramm, Manager of Ramm Capital Partners, LLC and COO of Taylor Development Group. “There is significant interest in our initial project thanks to Cape Fear Commercial and Wilmington Business Development. We want to leverage this momentum into our next project on Lot 6 in Pender Commerce Park. We have assembled a fantastic development team that we are extremely proud of, led by Landmark Builders. All of us are looking forward to our next Wilmington project and sharing more details in the near future.”
Pender Commerce Park has become one of the state’s most active industrial parks. With Ramm’s planned investment on Lot 6, Pender Commerce Park will boast nearly $115 million of capital investment, 800,000 sq.-ft. under roof and more than 600 jobs. As important, the investment puts Pender County and its partners at Wilmington Business Development (WBD) in a better position to recruit additional industrial employers to the region.
“We enthusiastically welcome the continued investment by Chris Ramm and his partners in Pender Commerce Park,” says WBD CEO Scott Satterfield. “There was a time when industrial inventory was a weakness for our region, but thanks to the vision of developers like Chris that is changing. Demand for and now availability of ready-to-go industrial space has energized our recruitment of major employers to Greater Wilmington.”
In the mid-2000s, Pender County leaders partnered with WBD in charting a vision for the Commerce Park as regional infrastructure upgrades began to take shape. “With plans for I-140 and utility improvements along US 421 in the works, we saw the potential of that property as a destination for a variety companies,” said George Brown, chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners. “This latest investment by Chris Ramm and his partners keeps the momentum going and enhances the park as a regional economic engine.”
The new building can also be considered by existing industry in the region as companies look for readily available industrial space to expand. That’s why both this facility and the initial investment by Pender Commerce Partners 1 LLC are built to be flexible. The buildings are designed in a way that can accommodate single users or multiple tenants.
“The industrial market in Greater Wilmington is as strong as I’ve ever seen it,” says Paul Loukas, broker-in-charge at Cape Fear Commercial. He cites a 5% to 6% vacancy rate once the former Vertex Building is taken out of the mix. Loukas and colleague Will Leonard will continue their brokerage relationship with Chris Ramm at Lot 6. “We are seeing a large amount of interest from tenants in the 30,000 to 60,000 sq.-ft. range, as well as much larger users. WBD has done a fantastic job assisting us in generating several of our larger prospects,” Leonard says. “Being able to potentially house both puts us in a prime position to attract industry.”
Ramm with Taylor Development Group, LLC put a stake in the ground of the region’s real estate market nearly four years ago with acquisitions of Class A office buildings at Landfall Park and Third and Grace in downtown Wilmington. After noticing a scarcity of available industrial space equipped with today’s amenities, Ramm began working with Cape Fear Commercial on opportunities to build high-quality spec space. Pender Commerce Park was the ideal place.
Ramm’s continued investment also fits nicely into WBD’s product development strategy and helps further execute the vision Pender County leaders have set for Pender Commerce Park. In less than a decade, the property has attracted food processing, assembly, distribution and corporate headquarter operations. “Chris Ramm’s investment on both projects is timely – the region will have attractive, available industrial space just as U.S. industry looks to re-shape supply chains and tailor their expansion strategies for the post-pandemic economy,” Satterfield says.
Wilmington Business Development oversees business recruitment and industrial retention for the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County and Pender County. A private, non-profit organization founded in 1956, WBD supports members, partners and allies through an array of technical expertise, leadership resources and value-added business services. Visit www.wilmingtonbusinessdevelopment.com to learn more.