SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Ramm Capital Partners, an investment property firm specializing in commercial and industrial sales, has found a growing niche in the Cape Fear region. Recently it announced plans to build a second industrial spec building in Pender Commerce Park.
The company arrived in the market five years ago and in 2020 invested $8 million to open the first modern industrial speculative building the region had seen in over a decade. The 126,360-square-foot facility is now fully leased with a mix of tenants — Atlantic Tire Distributors, Professional Builders Supply and SCP Distributors LLC.
Ramm Capital is looking toward phase two, located directly adjacent to its first structure. It purchased the 39.5-acre land from Pender County last September, with commissioners approving the sale in a closed session at the proposed price of $2.1 million — $52,000 an acre.
The sale closed in February and the land was cleared in April.
The company is planning a 144,900-square-foot building, equipped with modern amenities, on 15 acres for phase two. Construction should begin later this year and wrap by summer 2023.
As the buildout is considered “speculative,” Wilmington Business Development — the conduit for the county-owned industrial park and prospective tenants and buyers — confirmed the exact tenant mix is unknown at this time.
The building will be able to accommodate one to three tenants; the “sweet spot” in the industrial market is about 50,000 square feet of space per company, according to Ramm.
Chris Ramm, CEO of Ramm Capital Partners and Taylor Development Group, said he’s had “some good preliminary conversations” with interested parties and is cautiously optimistic.
“For several years we’ve been working on a product development initiative in order to more effectively recruit companies and support existing industries in southeastern North Carolina,” WBD CEO Scott Satterfield said.
WBD is a nonprofit organization geared toward economic development in New Hanover and Pender counties. Staff work to build relationships to bring jobs to the area.
He added Ramm’s investments help diversify the region’s economy.
“It’s a little nerve wracking with the current state of the economy,” Ramm said, “But there’s still a good bit of runway in the industrial sector for growth.”
Ramm explained Pender Commerce Park was “teed up for success” from its beginning and he was drawn to the land for its infrastructure, soil content conditions and potential for growth.
He added that site contractor Thomas Corder concurred Pender Commerce Park was one of the only places that was equipped to allow work to continue following Hurricane Florence.
“That gave me great confidence in the park and that was important to me,” Ramm said.
Satterfield confirmed Ramm is not alone in growing the industrial sector locally, as many companies who have built similar spec buildings are already constructing second and third ones as well. WBD could not release at this time specific names.
“We consider each to be partners and will continue to work closely with them, as ready-to-go Class-A industrial products of this scale are the currency of today’s economic development recruitment efforts,” he said.
According to WBD, Pender Commerce Park, located along U.S. Highway 421, appeals to companies as an industrial destination for its 3-mile proximity to I-140 and close drive to the Port of Wilmington. The 450-acre park welcomed its first tenant, Acme Smoked Fish, in 2013. It is also home to Empire Distributors, FedEx Freight, Coastal Beverage, Pender Commerce Partners and India’s Polyhose Inc.
Also under construction at the commerce park is a $40-million 300,000 square-foot cold storage space for RL Cold, a division of Atlanta-based RealtyLink. The structure is being built on 28 acres behind Ramm’s newest planned facility.
Amazon announced in March it was planning a 40-acre distribution center on the site as well. The facility will bring more than 100 full-time jobs and hundreds of driver opportunities. The 142-square-foot space will act as a delivery station.
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