Sam’s Club is opening a sprawling 300,000-square-foot warehouse in Berkeley County this fall, and plans to nearly double the size by next year, the company and brokers in the deal said Friday.
The deal is being touted as one of the largest industrial lease transactions in the history of the Charleston area.
“We expect this to lead to as many as 75 new jobs,” said Bill Shanaman, director of commercial brokerage with The Beach Co., which represented the building’s owner. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Developers are in the final stages of constructing the storage center, which will open Oct. 1, Shanaman said. Plans calls for another 260,000-square-foot expansion by the end of 2002.
The facility is in the Charleston Regional Business Center on Clements Ferry Road. Pearson Properties, a development group from Gastonia, N.C., owns the building.
Sam’s Club, a membership retailer that’s affiliated with WalMart Stores, has an outlet on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston.
The warehouse will be a regional conduit for goods shipped to the port of Charleston, then transported to stores here and in neighboring cities, said Charley Moore, partner with Batten & Moore, which represented Sam’s Club. The center is minutes from Interstate 526 and the WandoWelch Terminal.
“There is a trend for Asian shipping to go to East Coast ports,” Moore said. It’s cheaper in some cases to sail through the Suez Canal or around Africa than to West Coast ports. The Panama Canal is too narrow for some of the super-sized vessels now, he said.
Sam’s Club has been active here lately, leasing 257,000 square feet of warehouse space in the Benchmark industrial park on U.S. Highway 78 and 200,000 square feet in the former Homemaker Industries building on Ashley Phosphate Road.
Moore said he wasn’t sure if Sam’s Club would keep all the leased space once it consolidates operations at Charleston Regional Business Center.