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Industrial Development Briefs: Plastic Express, Thorold Multimodal Hub

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Rendering of Plastic Express’ new building at the CSX-served Central Port Logistics Center in Savannah, Ga. (Capital Development Partners Rendering)

Rendering of Plastic Express’ new building at the CSX-served Central Port Logistics Center in Savannah, Ga. (Capital Development Partners Rendering)

Logistics company Plastic Express has signed a lease at the CSX-served Central Port Logistics Center in Savannah, Ga. Also, the Thorold Multimodal Hub, a joint venture of BMI Group and HOPA (Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority) Ports in Ontario, Canada, has received a 2023 Brownie Award from the Canadian Brownfields Network.

National developer and investor Capital Development Partners earlier this month reported that Plastic Express leased 982,800-square-foot Building 11 at the Central Port Logistics Center. The Center, it said, represents an investment of more than $155 million that will support the Georgia Ports Authority’s (GPA) export capability in Savannah. In additional to CSX rail service, the Center offers access to Veterans Parkway via a major interchange and to I-95 and I-16, as well as a direct route to port terminals.

Building 11 will open in June 2024. It offers packaging, warehousing, transloading and storage capacity for 8,000-plus TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units) and is slated to create more than 200 direct jobs and 250 construction jobs. According to Capital Development Partners, Plastic Express and CSX plan to turn the facility 10 times per day and export more than 150 million tons of U.S.-made resin products.

Building 11 represents Phase I of the industrial park that covers 1,000 acres with 5.5 million square feet of warehouse to support GPA’s growth.

The Thorold Multimodal Hub (pictured) in Ontario has transformed a legacy industrial space to attract new businesses. (Photograph Courtesy of CNW Group/Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority)

HOPA Ports on Nov. 27 reported that the Thorold Multimodal Hub, has earned a 2023 Brownie Award in the “Renew-Large Scale Project” category from the Canadian Brownfields Network “for its successful reimagining of a legacy industrial site for modern industrial uses.”

Each year, the Canadian Brownfields Network recognizes Canada’s “best brownfield redevelopment projects, which demonstrate innovation, environmental sustainability, and positive community impact,” according to HOPA Ports.

Real estate development company BMI Group and HOPA Ports in 2020 introduced the Thorold Multimodal Hub at the site of a former paper mill next to the Welland Canal in Thorold. The mill, HOPA Ports said, had stood empty since 2017, and at 200 acres and purpose-built for paper milling, it was not easily adaptable to another use. However, the site offered marine access to the adjacent Welland Canal, rail access, on-site water treatment, and more than 500,000 square feet of building space.

Purchased by BMI Group, the site was brought under the Thorold Multimodal Hub umbrella with adjacent lands owned by HOPA Ports. To date, more than C$100 million has been invested across the Hub to reconfigure and modernize the site infrastructure, including reactivation of the rail lines, and upgrading the building, according to HOPA Ports. BMI Group in 2022 purchased another adjacent property, a vacant former automotive manufacturing facility, and HOPA Ports in October 2023 expanded its own adjacent land holdings, bringing the Thorold Multimodal Hub lands to more than 500 acres of contiguous multimodal industrial lands.

HOPA Ports works with BMI Group to manage and market the Hub to new users, and they have attracted more than 30 tenants so far. GIO Railways Corporation holds an industrial rail switching agreement to use CN rail infrastructure at the Hub to transload cargo and handles traffic from both Canadian Class I’s.

Stephen C. Host Photograph

“We are thrilled to be recognized with this Brownie Award,” BMI Group Managing Director Justus Veldman said. “We’re proud of the imagination and dedication of our team, and grateful to all of our partners who have helped us come so far, so fast. Our restorative development model recognizes the value inherent in legacy industrial spaces and positions them for the future.”

“The success of the Thorold Multimodal Hub shows the healthy demand for marine-served industrial space in southern Ontario,” HOPA Ports President and CEO Ian Hamilton said. “By improving industrial brownfields and strengthening their transportation assets, we can create room for business to grow, enhance supply chains, and create new jobs.”

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