York County – One of Charlotte’s Hottest Submarkets and the Next Frontier for Industrial Developers

Contributing Author: Jason Flora, Project Manager 
York County Economic Development 

Recently, as reported in the Charlotte Business Journal, the Charlotte region is experiencing explosive growth in transportation and warehouse employment. Nowhere in the region has this growth been more evident than in the suburban submarkets to the north and south of Charlotte. Fueled by red-hot development, York County is leading the way as the next frontier for Charlotte’s industrial developers.

Powered by national trends in retail and on-line shopping behaviors, the region’s logistical assets, and a growing regional marketplace, from 2013 to 2017, the Charlotte region has experienced a 56.8% growth in transportation and warehouse employment – the most of any “emerging market” highlighted in the CBRE report cited in the article. Over the same period, using a similar definition for this sector, York County has experienced employment growth of 33%.

Locally, this employment growth is fueled by a very robust and active industrial development market speculating in the light industrial, transportation and logistics sectors. According to the CBJ article, York County has experienced net absorption of 1.3 M SF of industrial space so far this year. And, according to CoStar market analytics, of the 6.2 M SF of inventory under construction in the Charlotte region, 26% (1.6 M SF) is under construction here in York County. This is only outdone by the rapid growth seen by our neighbor to the north, Cabarrus County, which is also experiencing similar development trends. Based on York County Economic Development’s analysis, an additional 1.9 M SF will be delivered in York County in late 2018 through 2019 and an additional 5.5 M SF is planned or identified for future development over the next several years.

Companies such as NFI Distribution, Stanley Black & Decker and Ross Distribution have all recently announced or expanded operations in York County. Beyond the blistering market growth discussed above, below are just a few more reasons why York County continues to see success:

As one of Charlotte’s hottest submarkets, broadly considered to be a new frontier for industrial development, York County provides several advantages to developers and future tenants. The first advantage – location. York County is ideally situated on I-77 and provides convenient access to the I-85 corridor, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and the Port of Charleston. The Port, which is approximately 185 miles (and less than three hours), is the most efficient, and soon to become, the deepest port on the East Coast. York County is also fortunate to be located very close to CLT and the Norfolk Southern Intermodal Terminal, which is only 30 minutes from Rock Hill. In fact, York County often provides more convenient access to the airport than other submarkets to the north. In addition to these geographic advantages, prime industrial sites in other submarkets are getting snatched up, while industrial zoned land available for development is still readily available in York County.

State and local incentives make York County’s business climate very attractive. Property tax abatements and negotiated Fee-In-Lieu of Tax (FILOT) Agreements with York County, allow developers and future tenants the ability to significantly reduce local property taxes. South Carolina also provides incentives for job creation through statutory income tax credits, discretionary Job Development Credits, cash grants, and training assistance through readySC. These incentives make operating costs in York County more competitive, and under certain circumstances, more advantageous to other regional locations.

Finally, York County has an abundant workforce that is well versed in the skills necessary to support the manufacturing, transportation and logistics industries. With approximately 875,000 workers within a 45-minute drive of Rock Hill (eastern York County), and nearly 3% annual population growth, developers and tenants are confident that they can hire locally or recruit the employees they need. Not to mention, York County is a net exporter of its workforce, sending more than 50% of its workers each day to surrounding counties. This offers employers who locate here the ability to hire local and recruit employees frustrated by the grind of rush hour traffic. Material handling and logistics programs at York Technical College and the Rock Hill Applied Technology Center  also collaborate with local manufacturing and distribution companies to support training and employee pipeline needs.

To help get you up to speed with this blistering pace, below is a summary of the York County projects coming online late this year and in 2019:

Lakemont 77 – Fort Mill
370,000 SF; Delivered Q4 2018
Lakemont Business Park, 160 Steele Point Drive, Fort Mill
Developed by The Rockefeller Group
Represented by Avison Young

Developed by the Rockefeller Group based in Atlanta, this 370,000 SF cross-dock facility features concrete tilt-wall construction, 36 ft. clear height, and is geared toward distribution and warehouse operations. Nestled on 60 acres in the Lakemont Business Park, this facility is the closest location in York County to I-77, I-485, I-85 and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (15 miles). A 20-year Fee-In-Lieu of Tax (FILOT) agreement with York County provides a lower assessment on real and personal property and a fixed millage rate (local tax rate) for future tenants and owners.

Lakemont Logistics Center – Fort Mill
Two (2) buildings of 150,000 SF and 142,000 SF; Delivered Q2 2019
Lakemont Business Park, 3436 & 3437 Stateview Boulevard, Fort Mill
Developed by Crescent Communities and Gramercy Property Trust
Represented by CBRE

A joint venture between Crescent Communities, and one of the nation’s largest real estate investors and assessment managers, Gramercy Property Trust are developing two multi-tenant buildings with a total of nearly 300,000 SF just east of I-77 at Exit 90 (Carowinds Blvd). These rear-load buildings provide maximum flexibility to a range of tenants including light manufacturing, assembly, e-commerce warehouse and logistics, or even some office users. The buildings will feature 32 ft. clear height, ESFR sprinklers, concrete tilt-up construction and modern architectural design elements.

The buildings neighbor two of York County’s largest employers – Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Schaeffler Group, York County’s largest manufacturing employer. A 20-year FILOT of tax agreement negotiated with York County lowers the real and personal property tax for future tenants.

River Park @ I-77 – Rock Hill
275,000 SF; Delivered Q3 2019
Cel River Road, Rock Hill (adjacent to Riverwalk Business Park)
Developed by McCraney Properties
Represented by Foundry Commercial

McCraney Properties based in West Palm Beach, Florida is developing its second York County speculative building. The first building in the Riverwalk Business Park was leased to NFI Distribution Centers in 2017. The new 275,000 SF industrial building is located adjacent to Riverwalk near the intersection of Eden Terrace and Cel River Road. The location capitalizes on the success of the nearly complete business park and the many residential, recreational, restaurant and retail amenities located at Riverwalk.

The rear-load building features 32 ft. clear height, ESFR sprinklers, a 185 ft. deep truck court with space for 70 trailer parks, and leased space divisible to as little as 50,000 SF. Easy access to I-77 at Exit 82 is provided via a recently completed widening of Cel River Road to five lanes.

Riverwalk Spec Building – Rock Hill
216,000 SF; Delivered Q3 2019
Riverwalk Business Park, 782 Paragon Way, Rock Hill
Developed by the GRH Development Resources (Riverwalk Developer)
Represented by Colliers International

As development at the Riverwalk Business Park draws to a close, the Riverwalk master developer is constructing a 216,000 SF industrial spec building on one if its last remaining sites. The rear-load building will feature 32 ft. clear height, ESFR sprinklers, and a truck court depth of 130 ft.

Nestled in a wooded lot of 23 acres, this building is adjacent to the River Park @ I-77 Spec Building (see above). Nearby companies include Continental Tire, DHL Supply, NFI Distribution, McKesson Medical-Surgical Distribution, and La-Z-Boy Distribution. Easy access to I-77 at Exit 82 is provided via a recently completed widening of Cel River Road to five lanes.

Legacy Park East (Building 8) – Rock Hill
193,000 SF; Delivered Q4 2018
Legacy Park East, 2021 Williams Industrial Blvd, Rock Hill
Developed by Scannell Properties
Represented by Colliers International

With the success of Legacy Park West, Scannell Properties, based in Indianapolis, is developing Rock Hill’s newest Class A business park – Legacy Park East. This master planned business park will include nearly three (3) million square feet of manufacturing, warehouse and distribution space. The first building (Building 8) in Legacy Park East is a 193,000 SF rear-load industrial spec building perfect for light manufacturing, assembly or e-commerce operations. The building features 30 ft. clear height, ESFR sprinklers, and T-5 lighting. Office space will be built to suit for future tenants.

The Legacy Park East business park is located at the intersection of Springdale Road and U.S. Highway 21 (Anderson Road), at I-77 (Exit 77). Less than two miles from I-77, recently completed and future road improvements will provide convenient access to north and south bound I-77 traffic. Nearby companies include Ross Distribution, Elite Logistix (3PL), Coroplast, and Composites One Distribution, along with future Legacy Park tenants. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is only 30 miles and the Port of Charleston is only 185 miles from Rock Hill.

Legacy Park East (Building 4) – Rock Hill
460,000 SF; Delivered Q3 2019
Legacy Park East, 2104 Williams Industrial Blvd, Rock Hill
Developed by Scannell Properties
Represented by Colliers International

With 750,000 SF already delivered at Legacy Park, the second speculative building at Legacy Park East is designed as a 460,000 SF cross-dock distribution facility. The building is ideal for large distribution and logistics operations. However, with 7 in. reinforced concrete floors, 326 auto parks, and room to reconfigure planned truck courts for additional employee parking, this building can also accommodate large manufacturing users. The building will feature 32 ft. clear height, ESFR sprinklers, T-5 lighting and up to 128 dock-high doors (88 are knock-out panels). Power is provided via two (2) 480/277, three-phase, 2500 amp service.

Public Sector Spec Buildings – York and Rock Hill
Two (2) 40,000 SF shell buildings (no floor constructed); Construction Complete

While the private sector has been very active in the development of large industrial spec buildings in York County, local economic developers have seen the need for much smaller speculative space that can provide maximum flexibility and speed to market for manufacturing firms. York County and Rock Hill economic development organizations have each separately developed 40,000 SF shell buildings – one outside the town of York and one in Rock Hill. These buildings provide an excellent opportunity for small companies who desire the ability to own their facility or have the need for a more specialized, capital-intensive upfit – typically more than what traditional developers will provide.

Waterford Business Park, 1247 Apex Drive, Rock Hill
Developed and Represented by the Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation (RHEDC)

The Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation has constructed a 40,000 SF shell building at the Waterford Business Park in Rock Hill. The Class A business park is less than three (3) miles from I-77 at Exit 79 (Dave Lyle Blvd) and is home to primarily manufacturing firms such as 3D Systems, Oerlikon, Atotech, Chicago Pneumatic, SEM Products, Carolina Ingredients, and Linde Hydraulics. The concrete building has a 26 ft. clear height and is expandable to 55,000 SF. Constructed without a floor, the building is ideal for manufacturers who utilize heavy equipment requiring reinforced floors beyond what standard construction provides. Chemical or food related companies that require floor drainage are also good candidates.

East York Industrial Park, 1725 Genthe Court, York
Developed by York County Economic Development (YCED)
Represented by Colliers International

With the successful sale of its first public spec building in Rock Hill to Coroplast, York County Economic Development constructed its second shell building at the East York Industrial Park outside of York. This rural business park location provides a more affordable alternative to the busy I-77 corridor, while still providing convenient access to I-77 (15 miles) and I-85 (25 miles). The site is only 40 miles via I-77 from CLT. Industrial park neighbors include Elkem Silicones, MacLean Power Systems, and the newest tenant, Wheel Pros.

Situated on seven (7) acres, this building features precast concrete construction, TPO roof, a 28 ft. clear height and is expandable to 100,000 SF. There are five dock-high doors and one drive-in knock-out panel. It was constructed without a floor making it ideal for manufacturers who utilize heavy equipment requiring reinforced floors beyond what typical construction provides. Chemical or food related companies that require floor drainage systems are also good candidates.

Future Potential Industrial Development
In addition to industrial development already underway, YCED estimates that there is an additional 5.5 M SF planned or under control by private industrial developers in York County. Though it may not all occur in the current economic cycle, York County stands well positioned as a new frontier for industrial developers – meeting the Charlotte region’s growing demand and trend toward becoming a logistics hub.

• Future Legacy Park East development, Rock Hill: Up to 2.2 M additional SF
• U.S. HWY 21 at Banks Road, Fort Mill: Up to 850,000 SF
• Former Randolph Yarns site (adjacent to Riverwalk) on Cel River Road, Rock Hill: Up to 780,000 SF
• Firetower Road Land, Rock Hill: Up to 1.2 M SF

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