Route 58 a growing warehouse corridorPublished 9:25pm Thursday, July 26, 2012
Roughly four years after the proposal for a 900-acre CenterPoint Properties intermodal park along Holland Road was first made public, the plan is finally coming together.
On Thursday, officials cut the ribbon for the official opening of an Ace Hardware redistribution center. Further off the main road, construction is under way for a warehouse to serve the Navy Exchange Command.
City and CenterPoint officials say the two projects validate the plan to make U.S. Route 58 a Mecca of distribution centers and warehouses feeding off the Port of Virginia.
“When you sit inside the building and see it from the road, it all comes together,” city Director of Economic Development Kevin Hughes said. “It shows 58 is a prominent location to do business.”
The CenterPoint project was not the first distribution operation along Holland Road. The Target Import Warehouse on Manning Road opened in 2003. Since then, warehouses have sprung up all around it.
But the CenterPoint Intermodal Center is by far the largest park. City Council approved the project in January 2009, and the Ace project was announced in September 2011, followed quickly by NEXCOM.
“The first building is always the most difficult,” said Paul Fisher, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint. “We think there’s a lot more opportunity here.”
The key for the survival and growth of all the warehouses is the port, through which goods they handle will be imported. Ace officials said at Thursday’s ribbon cutting they chose Virginia because they realized the port was the most modern and most efficient on the East Coast, with the most potential for growth.
Fisher said CenterPoint already has invested $50 million in the project and expects to pour another $300 million into it.
Suffolk stands to benefit greatly, he said. The Ace project along brings at least 75 jobs.
“We build buildings, but at the end of the day, what I like to see is jobs,” Fisher said. “That’s a huge part of our mission.”
Hughes said having the Ace building up and running has helped his sales pitch to other companies looking to build in CenterPoint or nearby.
“This and the NEXCOM project really have created a lot of momentum,” said Deputy City Manager Patrick Roberts. The city is working on securing funding to connect roads within the CenterPoint development, allowing for better flow of traffic through the facility and creating another selling point.
“That’s something I’m really excited about,” he said.