[caption id="attachment_214680" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] The 9,975-square-foot warehouse in the Smyrna Business Park is leased out, so its owner Bob Johnson has unvieled plans to build a similar warehouse behind it. | DBT PHOTO BT KATIE TABELING[/caption]
SMYRNA — A Smyrna businessman is looking to build a new flex warehouse in the Smyrna Business Park, hoping to add more leasable space in Kent County’s tight market.Bob Johnson, the owner of refurbished laptop and tablet store Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff Inc., has filed plans with Smyrna town officials to build a 9,975-square-foot office/warehouse space. Johnson already built and owns another warehouse on the same lot, which is already completely leased out.“There are no small warehouse spaces in Smyrna, and we need to have it on the market,” Johnson told the Delaware Business Times. “People are calling me looking for space, and I have a waiting list of people with not much room to put them in.”Johnson built that first warehouse on Artisan Drive in 2019, after successfully building up his computer business for years. Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff Inc. began as a small e-store selling ink cartridges and computer parts in 1996, but later found its niche selling Panasonic products to first responders.Johnson and his family moved from New Jersey to Middletown in 2002, and the business soon took off. He later bought a corner lot on U.S. Route 13, the former Dairy Sweet, and turned it into his office.“That gave me a taste for building, and we needed a way to invest the business even further,” he said. After that, Johnson moved his business again into another property further down on Route 13.The existing Smyrna Business Park warehouse is already leased out to a CrossFit Killshot gym, a bitcoin miner and a custom, high-end door manufacturer.“The best case use for this second warehouse would be 100% leased out to a tenant that needs warehouse space. But I think what’s more likely is it’ll be split 50-50 to two small service providers,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of contractors that need the space to park their trucks and their equipment. And there’s nothing this size in Smyrna and Clayton.”
[caption id="attachment_214682" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The Smyrna Business Park recently landed an DEMEC Training ground, and a new warehouse expanding small business lease options in the Smryna-Clayton area. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING[/caption]
Kent County economic development leaders have long-since identified small to medium manufacturers and distributors as its key demographic, typically those with space ready-to-move in and with a future in expansion. For example, USA Fulfillment and National Vinyl Products moved to Dover after splitting a 173,000-square-foot building. Shore Industries signed a one-year lease for a 10,000-square-foot building.A market analysis of Kent County conducted earlier this year showed there is 764,000 square feet of industrial space to be leased, according to Newmark, a major real estate brokerage with a Wilmington office.Johnson’s proposed second warehouse is set to go before the Smyrna Planning Commission on Aug. 25.