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Commercial Real Estate Insider Only Kent County News

JLL begins marketing Duck Creek Business Park

Katie Tabeling
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KRM Development Corp. is ready to market the first spec building of Duck Creek Campus. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

SMYRNA — With construction on the first speculative building finished, KRM Development Corporation has signed on with international commercial real estate broker JLL to start marketing the Duck Creek Business Park.

The first building on what could be a 210-acre campus off U.S. Route 13 is 70,000 square feet but has the opportunity to double that size. It can also provide tenants with 20 dock doors and seven drive-ins.

“We’re excited that construction of the first spec building is finished, and prospects are showing interest already,” KRM Development Corp. Senior Vice President Jesse Parks told the Delaware Business Times. “We see this as a big project for us as well as Smyrna and Delaware.”

KRM entered into an agreement with JLL, a commercial real estate services firm with offices spanning the globe, to start marketing the property about two months ago. The firm, which has a region of six offices including Philadelphia, Wilmington, South New Jersey and others, has worked with KRM in the past to bring tenants to previous business parks in Kent Island and Chestertown, Md. 

This will be the first time JLL will market KRM’s assets on a national and international scale. Jamie Vari, JLL executive vice president, who represents the project, believes this is the first time KRM will be represented by an outside firm.

“We’re lucky to have this relationship with KRM. They have a strong interest in the market, but may lack some of the visibility into the intricacies of tenant moments, they decided it was in their best interest to hire a local expert of sorts,” Vari said.

JLL’s marketing strategy for the Duck Creek Business Park is still in the early stages, but Vari said it will include e-brochures and drone footage as well as working with the media. Since the building was built as warehouse-flex to best fit client needs, JLL will not be targeting a specific industry sector.

“We’re not focused on a floor amount of employees or even a certain kind of demographic. We’re just looking for someone who can use Class A construction space,” Vari told DBT. “As far as the initial stages, it’s mainly manufacturing and warehouses that are looking at the initial building.”

Based on the land configuration, the Duck Creek Business Campus may have a final footprint of 1 million to 1.5 million square feet. In total, Duck Creek Business Campus is estimated to draw up to 4,000 jobs and $477 million in economic development to Delaware’s smallest county. 

The sheer amount of early interest in Duck Creek Business Campus has justified KRM starting the preliminary stages of the expansion of the site.

“We are preparing the groundwork for the next building so that when the time comes – and the market prices are normalized – we will be ready to press go on this and start to build,” Parks said.

With offices in roughly 80 countries around the world, JLL may have Duck Creek Business Campus poised not just for businesses in the tri-state area looking to expand, but international companies looking to make American landfall. Much like the future WuXi STA manufacturing plant in Middletown, Vari pointed out that Smyrna may be just as attractive from a demographic and finance point of view.

The Duck Creek Business Campus is the first large-scale flex-development project south of the C&D Canal so far. Its location to major urban hubs – one hour south of Philadelphia, under two hours from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and three hours from New York City – makes it ideal for distribution. 

JLL reports that at the end of the first quarter, nearly 5.2 million square feet of space was under construction in Delaware, all of which was pre-leased to a single tenant.

“The demographics are consistent with some of our markets in Conshohocken, suburban Philadelphia and manufacturers are learning that the labor studies are as advantageous as they are in some of our peer markets and peer states,” Vari said. “Delaware is more advantageous than ever because of relaxed incorporation laws, reduced taxes and getting the same amount of labor. We’re already starting to see it in a big way.”

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