Increased global trade through East Coast ports inspired commercial real estate developer Hillwood to start building the 750-acre Charleston Trade Center in South Carolina, along Interstate 26 between the Port of Charleston and the I-95 corridor.
Construction on the first of approximately 13 buildings will begin early next year, and Hillwood plans to have the first 400,000-square foot speculative property complete by the end of 2008. Hillwood plans about eight million square feet of industrial space, primarily for logistics and light industry, and a million square feet of office and retail space, at the trade center.
Gary Frederick, senior vice president of Hillwood Investment Properties, said, “Charleston Trade Center is a prime logistics location because of its proximity to I-95, the major north-south connector along the East Coast, and to the Port of Charleston, which has become a key East Coast entry point for goods imported from Asia and should continue to handle more containers due to increased use of the Suez Canal and the expansion of the Panama Canal.”
The Port of Charleston handles almost two million TEUs of container traffic per year and can accommodate the new generation of super-post-Panamax ships. The South Carolina Port Authority is also building a new container terminal that will increase Charleston’s capacity by almost half.
Total value of the trade center complex was not disclosed, though Hillwood said it will spend $9 million on highway access improvements at the I-26 interchange.
Hillwood expects the Charleston Trade Center will eventually create as many as 3,000 area jobs.