Preparing to fill a void in local industrial offerings, Equus Capital Partners Ltd. has broken ground on a new project in the Charlotte area.
The developer and private equity real estate fund manager has commenced construction of Carolina 85 Logistics Center, an approximately 300,200-square-foot speculative logistics facility fronting Interstate 85 in Kings Mountain, N.C.
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Carolina 85 will take shape on a 23-acre site at 300 Woodlake Parkway in Gaston County, roughly 30 miles west of Charlotte’s central business district. Equus completed the purchase of the land for the project earlier this year, after successfully obtaining rezoning approval from the Kings Mountain City Council for a 13-acre portion of the site in 2020.
The Class A warehouse, which will feature 32-foot clear heights and 55 trailer parking spaces, is designed to accommodate either a single occupant or multiple users seeking a home named for a thoroughfare that Equus refers to in a prepared statement as the “logistics spine for the Southeastern Region.”
Equus is relying on Equus Development LP, its development operating division, to manage development and construction activity for Carolina 85, and the company has tapped Cushman & Wakefield’s Matt Treble, Fermin Montes de Oca and Patrick McGrath to oversee an aggressive marketing and leasing campaign. Equus is confident that the project will be partially preleased in advance of its scheduled delivery in December 2021.
Desperately seeking space in Charlotte
Equus has every reason to believe that Carolina 85 will see a full tenant roster sooner rather than later; demand for industrial is strong in Charlotte. Metropolitan Charlotte logged more than 2.5 million square feet of new leasing activity in the first quarter of 2021, helping to push the quarter-over-quarter vacancy rate down 30 basis points to 7.7 percent, according to a report by Cushman & Wakefield. A first quarter 2021 report by Cresa puts the vacancy rate in Gaston County at a mere 3.7 percent.
Carolina 85, however, has more than just a good location working in its favor; it has size on its side as well. “At the close of the first quarter of 2021, space options for tenants requiring larger Class A space were extremely limited—only six options for spaces 250,000 square feet or larger with 32-foot clear heights are available for immediate occupancy,” according to the Cushman & Wakefield report.
Equus has had a busy six months, remaining active in a bevy of diverse transactions. The company completed a 1.1 million-square-foot industrial lease with Lowe’s Home Centers in Shippensburg, Pa., in November 2020 and acquired a 304-unit multifamily community in Naples, Fla., for $82.3 million in December. Most recently, the company has closed a handful of dispositions, including that of a three-building office and lab portfolio in Wyomissing, Pa., and a two-building office/R&D portfolio in Silicon Valley. Perhaps most notably, Equus sold and recapitalized an 8.6 million-square-foot industrial portfolio for a consideration of $1 billion.