OmniTrax and parent company The Broe Group have commenced development of the first 1 million-square-foot building at the Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub, a 2,700-acre park sited 12 miles outside the Port of Savannah in Georgia. The project is a public-private endeavor, with Effingham County Industrial Development Authority as owner of the master-planned industrial park, which has the capacity for as much as 18 million square feet of space at full build-out.
SGIH has been in the works since 2016, when ECIDA selected OmniTrax, a fast-growing railroad and transportation management company, as its development partner. A commitment from A&R Logistics just over one month ago sparked the groundbreaking on the park’s initial building. A&R inked a 12-year lease agreement for 610,000 square feet and secured an expansion option to occupy the remaining square footage of the build-to-suit facility.
In addition to erecting the new home of A&R’s global export operation, Omni will build park-serving rail infrastructure spanning more than 7 miles, a multi-customer OmniTrax rail yard and an additional dedicated rail yard for A&R. Construction is on track to reach completion in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Playing keep up
OmniTrax has not yet disclosed plans for speculative development at SGIH; however, any additions to the local market would likely find a warm reception. U.S. seaport and inland port markets are still experiencing the greatest demand for new industrial product, according to a third quarter 2019 report by Colliers International, which is overseeing marketing of SGIH. And looking ahead, occupiers’ requirement for new state-of-the-art warehouse accommodations will persist as a result of the increasing percentage of consumers purchasing goods online.
In Savannah, development of bulk space continues to keep pace with demand. The annual vacancy rate for bulk space has remained under 3.5 percent since 2015 and declined year-over-year to 2.2 percent in the third quarter, according to the Colliers report. As of the close of the third quarter, only one-third of all industrial deliveries from the first half of 2019 remained vacant in the southern city.