Construction begins on 1 million square foot industrial storage space at LR Port

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,671 views 

State and local economic officials on Thursday (July 14) joined Bluestem Partners of Kansas City and Bailey Construction for the groundbreaking of a one million square foot industrial storage space at the Port of Little Rock.

The South Port Commerce Center will be a two-building speculative industrial development totaling 966,335 square feet of class A product. Located in the Port of Little Rock, the 64-acre project will feature two buildings with clear heights of 36 feet.

Phase 1 will feature a 537,845 square foot cross-dock facility with 68 dock doors, 52 future doors, 4 drive-in doors, 160 trailer parking spaces and 449 regular parking spaces.

Phase 2 will feature a 428,000 square foot building cross-dock facility with 68 dock doors, 52 future docks, 4 drive-in doors, 143 trailer parking spaces and 300 regular spaces.

“This investment will add much need industrial storage capacity to the Port, fueling growth of both current and future Port industries,” said Clay McGeorge, Little Rock Port Authority board member.

Bluestem Partners is the developer and Sage Partners is marketing the project for lease. Completion of Phase 1 is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023.

“Bluestem Partners and our extended team is excited and honored to partner with the Little Rock Port Authority to deliver the first of a two-building industrial park at the Port’s complex,” said James Isom, founder and partner of Bluestem Partners. “When complete, the park will boast nearly one million square feet of class-A cross-dock industrial space and will be delivered on a speculative basis. Bluestem will work with its team to target tenants to bring to the park who compliment the local community while enhancing the economic growth already prevalent at the Port.”

Officials said e-commerce penetration is expected to grow to 26% of all retail sales by 2025. An estimated additional 330 million sq. ft. of distribution space will be needed to handle just the increase in online ordering in that timeframe, they said.

“Access to high quality industrial facilities is a top priority for companies that are looking to locate or expand within the state,” said Clint O’Neal, Deputy Director and Executive Vice President of Global Business for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “Bluestem Partners’ decision to invest at the port will give the right company speed to market, and given our pro-business climate and excellent workforce, I’m confident that soon we will welcome hundreds of quality jobs for Arkansans.”

“The South Port Commerce Center provides the Little Rock region with much-needed, class-A industrial product to market to companies across the globe,” said Jim Cargill, 2022 Chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber. “This announcement solidifies Central Arkansas as an attractive place for industrial developers to invest, which is a gamechanger for recruiting business to the region.”

Leasing for the facility will be led by Jason Parker of Cushman & Wakefield | Sage Partners.