Despite facing headwinds from high steel prices, a local developer is bullish enough on the strong demand for industrial space to move forward with a speculative project in Birmingham.
Graham & Co. is investing $15 million in the first phase of “Crossroads Commerce Center,” a new industrial development off Daniel Payne Drive in the Hooper City neighborhood near downtown.
The central location is expected to be a big draw for companies looking to have access to the major arteries in the state.
“We are very bullish on the site, which has a signalized access to Daniel Payne Drive with easy access to I-65, I-22, and I-20/59 just south of the site,” said Jack Brown, senior vice president at Graham & Co.
The first phase of the project will include an 186,000-square-foot building with two drive-in doors, 35 dock positions, 15,000-square-foot bays, ESFR sprinklers, a truck court, 46 trailer storage spaces and about 135 auto parking spaces.
“The high bay building will have all the modern features and offer plenty of car and trailer parking,” said Sonny Culp, senior vice president at Graham & Co. “We can lease spaces as small as 45,000 square feet.”
RADERMcCary Construction is the design builder, Designform is the project architect, and SouthState Bank is the construction lender. Located in an Opportunity Zone, the project is also being funded with OZ dollars.
Graham & Co. plans to begin site work in August and, once steel is delivered in December, to start coming out of the ground over the holidays to be shell ready by March 2022.
One of the main sticking points so far has been nailing down the steel needed for the project.
“We think the time is right to deliver some new space to the market. It’s been a little while since some has,” Culp said. “We own our land, we’re permitted, we’re blowin’ and goin’ — we would be starting 60 days sooner but for the steel.”
Graham & Co. acquired the 29-acre site in March, as we reported.
The site will be mass graded during the first phase, making it pad ready for a second phase that is expected to include another 186,000-square-foot building. A potential third phase on an adjoining 5-acre site could see anything from trailer storage use to a new 60,000-square-foot building.
The project is expected to attract one to three tenants that could range from distributors to automotive or light assembly companies.
“Hopefully a new company coming to Birmingham that needs space and is going to be creating some jobs, or we hope that these buildings finally are the springboard that will allow an existing company that’s somewhat landlocked to make the leap into something that’s going to allow them to continue to grow,” said Henry Graham, vice president of development at Graham & Co.