Firm snaps up West Shore warehouse

A New York investment firm paid $24.4 million for a roughly 255,000 square-foot warehouse in Hampden Township, Cumberland County, continuing a string of multimillion-dollar deals for area warehouses.

  • The property, acquired by Brickman, is fully leased, according to real estate firm JLL Capital Markets, which marketed the building at 301 Railroad Ave.
  • The seller was a subsidiary of a real estate investment fund managed by Penwood Real Estate Investment Management, based in Hartford, Connecticut.
  • “The location, functionality and in-place cash flow attracted strong interest from a variety of investors,” JLL senior managing director John Plower said in a statement. “The property is well situated within the coveted West Shore pocket of Harrisburg providing access to an abundant labor force and impressive distribution network.”

The building: The Hampden Township warehouse was built in 1963, enlarged in 1972 and renovated between 2018 and 2020, according to JLL.

  • Tenants include architectural coatings distributor Paint Sundries Solutions, auto-parts distributor Performance Radiator Servpro of Harrisburg West, and professional services providerVGM Group,according to a JLL spokesperson.
  • The new owner, Brickman, has historically invested in office space and distressed assets.

The market: The demand for industrial properties like warehouses has been sending the market to new heights in 2021, according to research by JLL.

  • As of the third quarter, rents were up 7.1% on a year-over-year basis, and demand remained strong.
  • The vacancy rate in Cumberland County was 2.4% at the end of September.
  • Eastern/Central Pennsylvania represents one of the biggest markets in the country for industrial space.

Quick takes

WHO’S RETIRING: Karen Martynick. Martynick is stepping down effective Dec. 31 as executive director of the nonprofit Lancaster Farmland Trust, which works to preserve farms around the county. Martynick has worked for the trust since 2004 and helped build it into one of the 50 largest land trusts in the U.S. Her recent work includes leadership of a fundraising campaign that brought in more than $8 million, exceeding the initial goal of $7.5 million.

  • Martynick is being succeeded by Jeff Swinehart, who is taking a different title: president and CEO. 
  • Swinehart, who has been the trust’s COO since 2019, starts his new role Jan. 1.

The background: A recent report from the trust documented the pressure facing Lancaster County farms and the need for greater funding to preserve them from development.

WHO’S INVESTINGBen Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern Pennsylvania. The board of the state-backed venture fund approved investments this month in six companies, including three in Central PA. The local firms (and the investment amounts) are:

WHO’S BUYINGSolaREIT. The Maryland-based real estate investment trust has bought land in Franklin County and leased it to developers planning to erect a 20-megawatt solar project. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is valued at $2 million. A SolaREIT spokesperson said the figure includes both the price of the land and the value of the lease.

  • Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2022, but the spokesperson declined to reveal the location.
  • Power generation is expected to begin in early 2023, the spokesperson added, noting that there is a buyer for the electricity but declining to identify the entity.
  • The developers are PTR Holdco and Prospect14, an Ardmore-based clean energy firm formerly known as Glidepath Ventures.Efforts to reach the developers were not successful.

The background: Solar development is picking up pace in Pennsylvania as state officials look to ramp up the share of electricity coming from cleaner sources.

  • SolaREIT, which specializes in solar-related deals, helps solar projects move forward by locking up land for developers as they go through the approval process.


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