ikea, Xebec Holdings projects keep I-4 Corridor in forefront for distributors
The allure of Lakeland’s industrial real estate shows few signs of diminishing.
Two recent deals illustrate that the Polk County market, in the Interstate 4 corridor between Tampa and Orlando, remains at attractive as ever.
Most recently, Swedish furniture retailer Ikea announced earlier this month that it plans to occupy a new 326,000-square-foot distribution center off Allen K. Breed Highway, about 28 miles from Tampa’s downtown.
The new center, which will focus on fulfilling online customer orders from the Southeastern U.S., is slated for delivery in early 2019. The facility also will serve Ikea stores in Tampa, Orlando and Miami, the company says.
Lars Peterson, Ikea’s U.S. president, says in a statement that the Lakeland facility will “optimize customer accessibility,” and the company notes the new distribution point will “strengthen” nine existing warehouse operations — the closest of which is in Savannah, Ga.
The new center will be operated by DHL Supply Chain, a logistics operator that is a division of Deutsche Post DHL Group.
In all, Ikea operates 48 stores in the U.S. and five in Florida.
Ikea’s announcement followed a May purchase of 60 acres in Lakeland by Dallas-based Xebec Realty Partners. There, Xebec plans to construct a 533,000-square-foot distribution center beginning later this year on a speculative basis.
Xebec says its $39.3 million project just north of Interstate 4 will be completed in the third quarter of next year.
Randy Kendrick, Xebec’s founder and CEO, says the company was drawn to the area by the same demographics that attracted Publix Super Markets, Southern Wine & Spirits, Amazon and others.
“There are 21 million people in the state of Florida, and it’s a fast-growing state,” Kendrick says. “Our customers want to be there, and Lakeland is a good location, it’s a very strategic location for us, and we believe in the market profile.”
The company states its new facility will have 40-foot-clear ceiling heights, a 185-foot truck court and 114 dock doors.
Logistics firms and industrial developers have built within the I-4 Corridor because of its proximity to roughly 20 million consumers within a 200-mile radius, or a day’s drive via tractor trailer.
Founded in 1986, Xebec currently owns a dozen industrial projects containing more than 6.5 million square feet in five states, according to its website.
Kendrick adds his building will offer modern-day features that logistics operators look for today.
“What’s considered a Class A industrial building has been redefined over the past decade,” he says. “It used to be that 24-foot ceiling heights were the norm; now it’s 36-foot or 40-foot clear, and truck courts have gotten deeper, etc. It’s really all about the efficiency.”