Berkeley County’s Camp Hall business park drawing interest from developers
RIDGEVILLE —More cargo at the Port of Charleston combined with a dwindling number of industrial sites along the Interstate 26 corridor is putting Camp Hall Commerce Park on developers’ radar, with two proposed sales at the state-owned business park up for review by legislators.
Moncks Corner-based utility Santee Cooper is asking the Joint Bond Review Committee for permission to sell 217.6 acres of the roughly 4,000-acre site it owns adjacent to the Volvo Cars manufacturing campus. The panel, made up of state legislators who oversee spending on big-ticket items, will review the sales proposals June 22 in Columbia.
Santee Cooper has been marketing the business park since acquiring Camp Hall in 2015, but there’s been little activity at the property until recently.
“Although sales activity was initially slow, we have seen increased interest in Camp Hall recently given absorption of available space and sites located closer to the port and other industries, coupled with the announcement in 2020 of the Walmart distribution center across I-26 from Camp Hall, as well as the opening in 2021 of the port’s new Leatherman Terminal,” Pamela Williams, Santee Cooper’s chief public affairs officer and general counsel, said in a letter to the review committee.
The port’s new Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston is designed to handle some of the world’s biggest containerships bringing cargo to the port for retailers such as Walmart, which is building a 3 million-square-foot import distribution center along I-26. In addition to those projects, more than 10 million square feet of speculative industrial space — meaning no tenants have been secured yet — is being built along the interstate from North Charleston toward Camp Hall.
The first proposed Camp Hall sale involves 110.6 acres that Atlanta-based Portman Industrial LLC plans to purchase for about $9.4 million. Santee Cooper discounted the per-acre price by 8 percent to $85,000 because Portman has agreed to pay for a road and water and sewer infrastructure at the parcel located at the intersection of Fish Road and Volvo Cars Drive.
Portman Industrial is a newly formed division of 64-year-old real estate developer Portman Holdings, which has primarily built hotels, retail space and apartments. The industrial division is focused on speculative “development of modern logistics facilities in core markets serving the U.S. supply chain,” according to the company’s website.
The second proposed sale involves 107 acres that Rohnert Park, Calif.-based Altus Equity Group plans to purchase for about $9.8 million. Altus plans to build three speculative warehouses totaling 1.3 million square feet at the site near the center of the industrial park. According to the company’s website, Altus hopes to close on the purchase this fall.
“We love Charleston as a market,” the company said in a blog post. “We have a really strong and experienced team on board that has specific knowledge of the area. Unlike many of our projects, we are taking on more leasing risks that we prefer, but assuming a successful project, the anticipated profits provide a healthy risk adjusted return.”
If approved, the sales would be the third and fourth property deals at Camp Hall in recent months. Santee Cooper signed a deal in December to sell 10.5 acres for about $840,000 to Magnus CH1 LLC for development of a 157,500-square-foot warehouse. In January, the utility signed an agreement with RealtyLink Investments LLC to sell 70 acres for about $6.4 million. RealtyLink plans to build a cold-storage warehouse on its property.
in 2019, Exeter Property Group bought 77 acres at Camp Hall for development of three speculative warehouses.
Property at Camp Hall is being sold at market value determined by comparable sales along I-26 between Jedburg and Ridgeville. Santee Cooper — which has dual roles as a state-owned utility and an economic development promoter — acquired Camp Hall as part of the state’s deal to lure Volvo to Berkeley County. The original 6,800-acre tract was divided between 3,800 acres for the carmaker and 4,000 acres for Camp Hall.
Santee Cooper is marketing Camp Hall as a “next generation” industrial park with a village center that includes businesses catering to workers — such as a convenience store and bank — along with 2,600 acres of parks and walking or biking trails.