Baltimore Business Journal: D.C. firm starts work on giant Hagerstown warehouse


Reporter, Baltimore Business Journal

Sep 10, 2021

Hagerstown’s fast-growing e-commerce landscape is poised to take off again.

Washington, D.C.-based Penzance broke ground Thursday on a spec 825,000-square-foot, Class A warehouse facility that will sit just off Interstates 81 and 70 in Williamsport. The firm acquired the 70-acre site earlier this year for $8 million.

The project broke ground on Thursday and is expected to open by mid-2022. The work is the latest in the red-hot industrial market that has spread from the Interstate 95 corridor to points west where Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania intersect off a pair of highways that long have been traveled as gateways to the midwest.

Already, Amazon, FedEx, UPS and other tenants have leased space in Washington County, where wide-open land remains available for the growth.

“There’s never been a better time to develop such highly needed industrial space,” said Victor Tolkan, managing partner at Penzance, in a statement. “The industry and national demand for e-commerce, logistics, and distribution centers have grown in tandem over the last few years fueled largely by a progressive change in online shopping habits.”

The location will allow any future tenant of the Penzance project to access one-third of the U.S. population within a one-day drive, according to a JLL sales brochure for the property.

“Penzance rightly saw an opportunity to capture this momentum,” said JLL’s Jay Wellschlager in January after the sales deal closed. “The I-81 Corridor Industrial market has 3.6% vacancy, which is well below the national average, and industrial owners are currently seeing 5.2% rent growth year-over-year, which is phenomenal.”

Amazon earlier this year opened a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Hagerstown as part of the 2.2 million-square-foot Hagerstown Logistics Center. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant created 500 new full-time jobs at the warehouse. Another tenant at the center is Herbalife Nutrition, which leased 200,000 square feet and created about 100 new jobs to distribute its products along the Northeast corridor.

The Penzance warehouse is expected to bring 500 new jobs to the area. It will have close to 500 parking spaces and 217 trailer bays. Penzance is building the facility on spec.

The warehouse will be Penzance’s foray into the industrial base now underway in the region. Much of the company’s portfolio holds commercial, residential and mixed-use properties in the mid-Atlantic.

Susan Small, Washington County’s director of business development, said the Penzance warehouse project was another milestone for the area with the new jobs coming. Altogether, the project will “play an important role in the employment and economic growth of our great region,” Small said, in a statement.