Clarius deal

A large warehouse is planned for Omni Industrial Park along teh westbound lanes of Interstate 26 in Summerville.

Provided/WestRock

A pair of real estate investment firms plan to build a nearly 600,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center at the Omni Industrial Campus in Summerville, aiming to take advantage of the region's tight market for industrial space.

Chicago-based Clarius Partners and the real estate investment arm of Chinese auto parts manufacturer Wanxiang America Corp. are teaming up on the speculative building, a term for space that does not yet have a tenant. An early 2017 opening is planned.

Charleston Omni LLC, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Wanxiang, bought the nearly 43-acre site on Aug. 31 for $4.93 million, according to Berkeley County property records.

The proposed building would be among the largest in the region.

Sites at the Omni Industrial Campus, which is off Interstate 26 near Jedburg Road and about 25 miles north of the Port of Charleston, are being marketed to suppliers serving area manufacturers such as Boeing Co., Mercedes-Benz Vans and Volvo.

The need for speculative space - particularly for companies looking for more than 350,000 square feet - has increased over the past year as vacancy rates have fallen to 6 percent and below at Charleston area industrial sites. Leasing activity in the Charleston market has increased by 60 percent with limited new construction coming online, according to commercial real estate firm Avison Young, which has an office in Charleston.

The deal between Clarius and Wanxiang was negotiated by Avison Young's national capital markets group.

The warehouse and distribution center will include features such as state-of-the-art lighting, 101 dock doors, 6-inch-thick floors and 36 feet of clearance.

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The site is part of the 225-acre Omni business park being developed by packaging giant WestRock Co.'s locally based real estate division.

A competing large-scale industrial real estate development is underway on the other side of I-26. The Keith Corp. of Charlotte and its financial partner, Singerman Real Estate of Chicago, are investing $19 million to launch the first speculative phase of the Charleston Trade Center.

The 307,350-square-foot shell building is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The structure could be expanded later to more than 923,000 square feet if needed, according to plans.

In all, that development will cost about $175 million and house up to six large industrial buildings. The biggest would top 1.3 million square feet. The project started in tandem this summer with work on the nearby Sheep Island Interchange.

John McDermott of The Post and Courier contributed to this report. Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_