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Commercial Real Estate Insider Only Kent County Manufacturing & Distribution News

Dover Logistics Center to target growing warehouse need

Katie Tabeling
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The Dover Logistics Center is on track to break ground this year, and will add more warehouse space onto the Dover market. | RENDERING COURTESY OF MATAN COMPANIES

DOVER — With industrial space in central Delaware at a premium, Jack Lingo Asset Management and Matan Companies are preparing to break ground on a new logistics center to add more inventory to the market.

The Dover Logistics Center on Lafferty Lane will include 297,000 square feet of floorspace in at least two buildings and 599 parking spaces, with approximately 70 trailer locations. With 32-foot-high ceilings and 70 dock doors, the site is marketed primarily for manufacturing, logistics and industrial use.

Pending final approval from Dover officials, ground will break in either November or December, with the first building targeted for completion in fall of 2023.

“There’s a wide variety of tenants that this location would be perfect for, and we do think there’s a good amount of demand,” Jack Lingo Asset Management Principal Doug Motley told the Delaware Business Times. “There haven’t been any comparable products built in this area recently, and we’re going to deliver the best-in-class facility to meet the needs of national, international and local players as well.”

Jack Lingo Asset Management is the real estate investment arm of Jack Lingo Realtor Inc., a well-known name in Rehoboth Beach property investment and management. The firm focuses primarily on the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern region in developing various real estate projects, ranging from warehouses, housing, and commercial office space.

The firm has notably developed thousands of lots for homes in Sussex County and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, including the Senators and Showfield communities in Lewes. Its portfolio also includes 800 apartments in Kent and Sussex counties and half a million square feet of office space along the East Coast, ranging from Philadelphia to South Carolina.

Jack Lingo Asset Management has not done industrial warehouse projects like the Dover Logistics Center, so the company partnered with the Washington D.C.-based Matan Companies to develop and market the space. In comparison, Matan offers a range of real estate services under one roof and recently received approval to develop a 5 million square-foot warehouse in the Port of Virginia.

“We’re leveraging their expertise to attract the best tenants that will fit best for this project,” Motley said.

Meanwhile, JP Matan, director of leasing of Matan Companies, told DBT that the partnership opened an opportunity for his company to expand in the First State.

“We have properties as far south as Charleston, but we’re looking to aggressively expand into Delaware with the goal to build, lease and hold the property,” Matan said. “There’s four key dynamics in Dover that make it an interesting place to start: the Air Force base, the growing population, the driving need for more warehouse space anywhere and the lack of inventory.”

Kent and Dover officials have long since identified the Dover Air Force Base as an economic asset, as state and county leadership has been working to raise aircraft landings and takeoffs at the Civil Air Terminal to 25,000 per year. 

In addition, the Rockport Analytics studies both highlighted manufacturing and logistics as a key sector to target, in large part to Kent County’s central location in Delaware and on the East Coast.

“What warehouses that exist in Delaware were mostly built years ago. There’s a need for newer, top-of-the-line inventory,” Matan said. “What I’ve heard about Delaware is that further north, there’s growth but organic growth is also there south of the canal.”

From Jack Lingo Asset Management’s point of view, the market warrants the $30 million investment in the space. Looking at the Delmarva Peninsula in the past four years, there has been one construction project for large users: the Duck Creek Business Campus.

“It’s really hard to tell if there are big users who want to go to Dover, from what we’re hearing, because there’s nowhere to accommodate them anyways,” Motley said. “Dover provides us with a really good opportunity, given its accessibility to the highway and its proximity to the Port [of Wilmington] and the airports.”

The East Dover area is the last existing industrial area in Dover city limits, excluding Garrison Oak. Specifically, around Lafferty Lane, Frito-Lay announced last year it would build a small distribution center on a 22-acre parcel. There are three other parcels off Lafferty Lane that could be combined for a larger project.

“We’re really excited that the whole east over industrial area is really heating up for companies coming in,” Kent Economic Partnership Executive Director Linda Parkowski told Dover officials in September.

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