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Pa. developer buys land for Middletown warehouses

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Middletown Middle Neck Warwick Road Stoltz Richard Money

Along the Middle Neck Road-Warwick Corridor, there is four warehouses planned for more than 200 acres of farm land. A Pennsylvania developer has now bought into half of the project.| DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING

MIDDLETOWN — A Pennsylvania developer that has been building large warehouses across New Castle County recently acquired about 170 acres in Middletown.

Stoltz Real Estate Partners, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., is already developing the Blue Diamond Park that is home to an Amazon fulfillment center and a large warehouse near the Wilmington-New Castle Airport, but now is likely to take over plans for roughly 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space in southern New Castle County.

The development firm led by Keith Stoltz acquired the farmland at the end of March for almost $6.5 million, according to county land records. It was sold by local farmer and developer Richard P. Money, who successfully petitioned Middletown to have the land annexed into the town four years ago and has since filed plans to build two warehouses – one measuring about 1.05 million square feet and one measuring 480,000 square feet.

Richard Money has filed this development plan for the parcels now sold to Stoltz Real Estate Partners. | MAP COURTESY OF STATE OF DELAWARE

“It seemed like there was a bigger need for [manufacturing space] of use out here,” Scott Lobdell, an engineer with First State Engineering, who is working on the project, told state planners about the project last year. “And the proximity of the sites to the new Route 301 off ramp really seemed to make a lot of sense to have some industrial uses here.”

A request for comment on the acquisition to Stoltz’s local legal counsel was not returned, but it marks a continued investment by the firm in northern Delaware.

In November, the firm recapitalized after selling its Amazon warehouse facility in Blue Diamond Park off U.S. Route 13 to investors for $246 million, marking the second-largest commercial real estate sale in the state behind only a larger Amazon facility.

Now, Stoltz is actively underway in building an 890,348-square-foot warehouse off Churchmans Road, adjoining the New Castle County Airport, and a multi-phase expansion of its Blue Diamond Park. No tenants have been announced for either project, but warehousing also continues to be a hot sector in the state due to very low vacancy rates.

Meanwhile, southern New Castle County has rapidly been seeing more proposals for warehousing, especially as the construction of the U.S. 301 bypass has shortened travel times. That has helped attract a number of national developers to the market.

Panattoni Development is planning to build two warehouses on Bunker Hill Road near Appoquinimink High School, with a combined floor space of 1.08 million square feet. Birchwood Capital Partners and Curated Development Group are looking to build a 567,000-square-foot industrial warehouse named “Project Blue Hen” about 2.5 miles from the Middle Neck Road projects.

Just to the north off the Route 301 bypass at the Jamison Corner interchange, Dermody Properties – which completed the Amazon Boxwood delivery center in Newport – plans to build more than 2.3 million square feet of warehousing. Neighboring that site, EQT Exeter is planning more than 1.2 million square feet across three buildings and to the north Ibex Industrial is planning about 550,000 square feet across three buildings.

Finally, plans have been filed to build about 1 million square feet of warehousing on the Puglisi farmland to the south of the parcels recently acquired by Stoltz, potentially providing a future expansion opportunity.

Combined, the assorted projects could bring more than 8 million square feet of industrial space to the market, if successful.

Middletown is already home to one of the first Amazon fulfillment centers in Delaware, and Breakthru Beverages recently opened its Delaware warehouse on Levels Road. The area’s profile was raised again when it was announced that WuXi STA Pharmaceutical would build a new campus not far from Breakthu Beverage’s new Delaware warehouse.

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