August 7 – Construction of a distribution warehouse is included in plans for land that is under contract for sale near Exit 22 on Interstate 20.
There will also be commercial development on the site of around 17 acres, Mike McNeill, co-owner of real estate firm Coward & McNeill, said in an interview with the Aiken Standard recently.
The property is near the corner of Columbia Highway North, also known as US Route 1, and Windham Boulevard.
SEC Realty Inc. owns the parcel, according to Aiken County land records.
McNeill said the potential buyer is a developer, but declined to provide any further information about the potential buyer or the asking price for the property.
The deal is expected to close next year in late January or early February.
“We will be assisting the developer with what is essentially a planned commercial/industrial development project,” McNeill said.
The distribution warehouse will be constructed on an approximately 12.5 acre section of land located behind the parcel frontage along Columbia Highway North.
“We are still working with the engineers to determine precisely what the best use of this part of the site will be,” McNeill said. “That’s why we have a square footage range right now. There are all kinds of different aspects to a distribution warehouse that you need to consider.”
He added that the demand for warehouses locally near I-20 is the reason for the decision to build the facility.
“We have identified with the help of Will Williams of the Economic Development Partnership (of Aiken, Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda counties) and direct contact with people through Coward & McNeill that there is a serious need for warehouses “, said McNeill.
And the search for a tenant may not last long.
“There’s a potential out there, but they don’t want to be known yet,” McNeill said. “The developer is in communication on some level with them through a contact.
“So we may have a tenant, but we may also be looking for a tenant,” he continued. “We’re not sure at this time, but we’ve absolutely established that there is a need without a doubt.”
As a result, “we’re not afraid to go there speculatively if (the interest expressed by the potential tenant) dries up,” McNeill concluded.
Two tenants could share the warehouse, he said.
McNeill was unsure when construction of the facility would begin.
“It’s tricky,” McNeill said. “It can take between four months and maybe even a year before the dirt is moved, because there’s a lot of site engineering involved. There’s some topography to deal with and all that, and we want to use this to our advantage as much as possible for things like mooring.”
The remaining property with frontage along Columbia Highway North will be made available for commercial development.
There could be one plot in this section or maybe two.
“Location uses like this typically require more than an acre,” McNeill said. “They usually require a minimum of two.”
Businesses that could be built on the site include a motel, a small grocery store, a convenience store, a quick service restaurant and a table service restaurant.
“We have a development group looking at one of the potential plots, but there haven’t been any tough negotiations yet,” McNeill said.
Earlier this summer, McNeill described the Exit 22 area as “on the verge of very dynamic and significant growth.”
Using $7.4 million in state, federal and local funds, the City of Aiken has made improvements and additions to the water and sewer systems near the interchange over the past few years.
In 2021, Shaw Industries Group Inc., one of the world’s leading flooring suppliers, announced plans to invest approximately $400 million to expand operations in Aiken County on East Frontage Road near exit 22.
Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024, the expansion will create more than 300 new jobs.
There have also been improvements to other existing businesses.
A new, much larger Circle K on Columbia Highway North replaced an older version of the convenience store and gas station.
The Waffle House near Exit 22 reopened in June after undergoing a major renovation.