The development of a large cold-storage warehouse is expected to help draw more businesses to the rapidly expanding Palmetto Commerce Park industrial campus in North Charleston.
That was the message local officials expressed during Friday's groundbreaking for the 340,000-square-foot Lineage Logistics facility at 7748 Palmetto Commerce Parkway, between Ladson and Ashley Phosphate roads.
"This is our ideal and our growth location for the future with our light industry," said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. "We are excited about it coming here and we hope it's just the first of many more expansions we will see out here in Palmetto Commerce Park."
Lineage is the latest company to break ground in the development.
Airplane-maker Boeing is building a plant in the business park to create components for the 737 MAX line. And late last year, German-based driveshaft-maker IFA Rotorion announced a $25 million expansion that will add about 30,000 square feet of space and 30 jobs to its factory on Patriot Boulevard.
The business park is also home to several other blue-chip companies such as Daimler Vans and Shimano, a Japanese sporting components manufacturer that added almost 87,000 square feet to its local distribution center in 2012.
Summey said the Lineage facility will show the potential of the industrial park, which has access to highways and the Port of Charleston.
"We've got a lot more to do," Summey said.
As for Lineage, the Colton, Calif.-based company said it's scheduled to be open for business in North Charleston in late 2015. It expects to hire about 80 workers.
The North Charleston site was supposed to site of a cold-storage warehouse that Millard Refrigerated Services was supposed to start building in late 2012. But the Nebraska-based company never moved forward with the project. Millard was acquired by Lineage Logistics earlier this year.
The nearly 22-acre North Charleston warehouse will be a key hub among the California company's East Coast locations, CEO Bill Hendricksen said.
"It's another link in our network, but a very important link," Hendricksen said Friday. "We have a port-centric strategy."
He said the new warehouse will include "blast freezing" technology that's required when exporting domestic meats and fruits and other perishable food products. Refrigerated cargo is a business that the State Ports Authority has been trying to grow.
"Lineage's cold-storage and blast-freezing facility provides the additional local capacity necessary to support continued expansion of this market segment," SPA chief executive Jim Newsome said.