Huntersville capitalizing on boom in speculative industrial development
When Ryan McDaniels took over as executive director of Lake Norman Economic Development in 2013, Huntersville had no speculative industrial space. Now, he said the town has more than 4 million square feet of speculative space in planning, under review or under construction.
Mayor John Aneralla is amazed by how quickly commercial development has ramped up in Huntersville. Proximity has been the key to that success, he said. Town leaders have tried to capitalize on industrial development trends favoring interstate access and sites close to Charlotte and Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Those efforts are bringing in results now.
"You can see the market shifting north from uptown," McDaniels said. "I think the continued growth pattern was pushing its way north and we were fortunate to have some sites that were zoned appropriately and ready to go."
McDaniels said Huntersville is seeing speculative industrial projects in the pipeline from 60,000 square feet to over half a million square feet.
NorthCross Commerce Center, one of the larger speculative developments in Huntersville off Jamesburg Drive, is nearly complete. The project is being developed by Atlanta-based MDH Partners and includes two industrial buildings. The largest building is 331,385 square feet, while the smaller building is 114,100 square feet. The first tenant for the park was announced in late March.
Other notable projects include Bryton Commerce Center just off Hambright Road. Foundry Commercial's industrial park has three existing buildings totaling over 350,000 square feet. The company's brochure for the development also shows plans for a potential second phase. That park has landed a big-name tenant, sources have told the Charlotte Business Journal. CBJ reported in March that Amazon would occupy Building C at Bryton, which is 125,937 square feet.
Neither Amazon nor Foundry has confirmed those plans, but the building is listed as fully leased on Foundry's website.
Site plans provided to CBJ show that Selwyn Property Group is plotting a speculative building in Huntersville as well. It would be just over 100,000 square feet at the intersection of Statesville Road and Alexandriana Road, the plans show.
The activity comes after years of work by McDaniels and other local leaders to attempt to spur development. McDaniels' focus now shifts from eagerly pursuing development to finding tenants to occupy the high volume of space that is coming to Huntersville. His team at LNED has done so by adding more virtual tours of sites, McDaniels said.
"It is exciting for us because I know we've missed deals because we just simply haven't had the right product, and now we're going to have that option," McDaniels said.
In addition to its access to I-485 and I-77, Aneralla said Huntersville's population growth has made it a desirable target for growth. In the 2019 U.S. Census estimate, Huntersville had over 58,000 residents, which is up 23.9% from 2010. Aneralla said the positive impacts of the industrial development boom were felt not only on the town's tax base but also with more jobs.
Huntersville has been a "sweet spot" for international manufacturers recently, McDaniels said. German-based Bürkert Fluid Control Systems and Swiss manufacturer Oerlikon AM are among several international companies that have brought facilities to Huntersville since 2013.
Local leaders are hoping the momentum built in manufacturing and speculative industrial development continues the town's growth trend.
“There’s always been a plan," Aneralla said. "That plan is coming to fruition.”