The Port of Little Rock continues to add intermodal opportunities with barge-to-rail and barge-to-truck capabilities. Bluestem Partners of Kansas City on July 14 announced that Bailey Construction commenced the groundbreaking of the South Port Commerce Center, a one-million-square-foot industrial development located in the port.
In attendance at the groundbreaking were members of the Little Rock Port Authority, Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.
“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.
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. Phase 2 will feature a 428,000-square-foot building cross-dock facility. 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. Isom continued, “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.”
With e-commerce penetration expected to grow to 26% of all retail sales by 2025, the U.S. will need an additional 330 million square feet of distribution space just to handle the increase in online ordering in that time frame, according to a new report from CBRE. CBRE forecasted the incremental demand based on its estimate that every additional $1 billion of e-commerce sales requires one million square feet of new distribution space.
“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.”
“Centrally located with access to road, river, runway and rail, the Port of Little Rock has become the South’s premier location for investment,” added Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. “The development of the South Port Commerce Center sets the stage to continue our city’s historic jobs growth for years to come.”
“The Port of Little Rock is one of Pulaski County’s most important assets,” said Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde. “The partnership between Pulaski County, the city of Little Rock, and our economic development teams at the Little Rock Regional Chamber and Little Rock Port Authority will ensure the creation of hundreds of high-paying jobs at this facility.”
“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 game changer for recruiting business to the region.”