Construction is set to begin on the first phase of what could ultimately be 2.5 million square feet of additional warehouse and distribution space in Perryman.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the project, called Eastgate, on Tuesday afternoon, with Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, other county officials and one of the principals in the development company, MRP Industrial of Baltimore.
Three buildings will be constructed on the 243-acre site, which is between the Amtrak rail line and the Aberdeen Proving Ground security fence.
The rectangular shaped site runs south from Route 715 to Michaelsville Road. The site plan approved by Harford County shows access being provided from Chelsea and Woodley roads to the south of the property, to Route 159 (Perryman Road).
"The Eastgate project is our next gateway into the growing e-commerce market," Glassman said in a statement. "The site will have up to 2 million square feet of distribution space at build-out and create up to 700 new jobs."
"The initial buildings are being built on spec and the developer has already had interested parties tour the area," he said.
According to MRP Industrial, Phase I includes speculative development of 1100 Woodley Road, a 656,800 square foot, Class A cross dock distribution center scheduled for delivery in Fall 2017 along with a two‐mile extension of Woodley Road and associated public utilities.
D. Reid Townsend, a principal in MRP, said they are actively marketing the first phase to consumer products and online fulfillment companies.
"We have been talking to multiple consumer products companies," he said Wednesday, explaining the marketing is geared to single tenant occupancy for each building.
Known as Building B, 1110 Woodley is the middle of three buildings planned for the project, whose site plan and other particulars can be viewed at www.eastgate95.com.
Future phases include development of 1500 Woodley Road, a 1,027,500 square foot cross dock distribution center and 1000 Woodley Road, a 624,500 square foot facility.
The master plan provides for the flexibility to expand 1100 Woodley to more than 1,500,000 square feet and the future connection of Woodley Road to Route 715, Townsend said.
He said the middle building was chosen to be constructed first because of its "flexibility" for future expansion capabilities.
The company's development plan went through more than a year of county reviews. One issue that was raised during that process was access and the additional truck traffic that will be generated in an area which has a high concentration of distribution and warehouse facilities.
Townsend said MRP incorporated a connection of the extended Woodley Road to Route 715 from both a planning and financial perspective in designing Eastgate.
"We're fully supportive of connecting to Route 715," he said, adding that they have provided all the necessary rights-of-way on their property.
It will now be up to the county, working with the State Highway Administration and the Army, since the highway is a major access route to APG, he said.
In a recent interview with Aegis editors, Glassman said the county's large warehousing and distribution sector is reaching maturity after some 30 years of development.
He said he views the Eastgate project as the last big project of its kind on undeveloped industrial sites available in the county, noting that it will also combine elements of e-commerce, similar to what happened last year when XPO Logistics leased another recently completed Perryman building for e-commerce fulfillment operations.
When fully developed, the Eastgate project is anticipated to create up to 2,000 full time jobs in Harford County, MRP said in a news release.
"Eastgate boasts the rare combination of location, labor and amenities ‐ all with direct access to I‐95, the backbone connecting the East Coast's largest metropolitan areas," stated William M. Pellington, Senior Vice President with CBRE, who represents the project on behalf of MRP Industrial. "Future tenants will be able to serve over 120 million people within a single day's drive."
Baltimore‐based MRP Industrial, an affiliate of MRP Realty, was founded in 2013. Townsend said the company has not done any developments in Harford County, but has completed similar projects in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Eastgate site was purchased from the Mitchell family, Townsend said. The family at one time owned and farmed most of the land on the Perryman Peninsula.
The master plan for Eastgate was developed in conjunction with Bel Air based Frederick Ward Associates. Ware Malcomb will serve as the architect for the project. The Conlan Company will serve as the general contractor.