South Carolina is another sweet spot
for Rockefeller Group, as is virtually
anywhere that will benefit when the
Panama Canal widens in 2014. “The
Southeast will benefit in a big way when
it’s widened,” Smith comments.
“Charleston, SC happens to be one of
the few ports today that can take the
megaships that will travel the canal.” As
such, the firm is developing its 400-acre
Rockefeller Group Foreign Trade Zone,
25 miles from the Port of Charleston.
On a national level, Simonson cites a
push among retailers to add warehouses
and data call centers. “I was at a meeting
recently in which a couple of the large
retailers said they’re not building brand-new stores and they’re call-
ing a halt to renovations,” he explains. “But they are building new
distribution facilities to serve Internet customers.”
Herring, meanwhile, says retailers are interested in expanding
stores but can’t make sense of the numbers to justify new construc-
tion. As such, the retailers will likely “invest in their existing proper-
ties for rehabilitation, expansion and additions,” he remarks.
“During the next 12 to 24 months, we’ll see more redevelopment
as opposed to active, ground-up construction.”
Van Amburgh acknowledges similar issues on the industrial and
office side, with economic and political uncertainty slowing some
construction. “We probably have five office and call center projects,
ranging from $20 million to $40 million, in our pipeline that have
been qualified,” he comments. “Everything is ready to go.”
We probably have five
office and call center projects,
ranging from $20 million to
$40 million, in our pipeline that
have been qualified. Everything
is ready to go.”
STEVE VAN AMBURGH
KDC Real Estate Development & Investments
The problem, however, is that the tenants in question aren’t
ready to commit to long-term leases with the economy so shaky.
Until that uncertainty subsides, Van Amburgh says, those projects
will remain in the pipeline.
Smith is also pessimistic, pointing out that construction will continue to be slow for the foreseeable future. “Nothing on the horizon suggests that boom times are back,” he notes.
Yet Van Amburgh sees a possible tipping point. For the past few
years, businesses have used short-term fixes to issues of strategy and
growth. Even if the US economy continues lumbering into 2012,
companies could consider small amounts of construction. However,
he says, it still depends on potential swings in the economy. ◆
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