[caption id="attachment_223384" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A truck drives to the lone existing building on Duck Creek Business Campus. Scannell Properties is reportedly in discussions to buy 44 acres of land for a distribution center. | DBT PHOTO BY KATIE TABELING[/caption]
SMYRNA — An international developer is seeking to build a large distribution center in the Duck Creek Business Campus,leaving ample space for an unnamed tenant to grow in the years to come.Troy Shiley, of Scannell Properties, received approval from Smyrna planning officials Wednesday night to build a one-story, 337,137-square-foot warehouse on 44 acres of land within the business park off U.S. Route 13. Scannell Properties is under contract to buy the land from KRM Development Corporation, and Shiley told town officials that Scannell plans to lease the land to a business the firm has worked with for many years.“This is a design phase to be filled out, so the facility is built to be able to grow within the site itself. For instance, we have worked with this [company] and they didn’t have enough parking when they grew the facility,” Shiley told the Smyrna Board of Appeals on Wednesday night.The project is expected to bring around 610 positions, with more on the horizon once expansion is complete. The distribution center will run 24/7 for the international company, and serves as the last-mile delivery point for its products via trucks, sorted and changed over to vans, which will make deliveries within a roughly 200-mile radius.Headquartered in Indianapolis, Scannell Properties is a private real estate development and investment company that specializes in build-to-suit and speculative development for industrial and logistics facilities. Founded in 1990, the firm now has offices in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.Scannell Properties has completed 470 development projects totalling 12 million square feet for clients that include Amazon, FedEx, Makita, GE Aviation, General Mills, Constellation Brands and more.Shiley noted that this facility is intended to be a first for the company, designed to handle peak traffic hours and delivery volumes.“As you have experienced here, I see e-commerce has grown. So models have changed significantly. So this facility is a prototype that is to be the modern environment built for peak hours,” he said.Plans filed with the town show 801 parking spaces for cars, 210 parking spaces for tractor trailers and 75 loading bays. The Smyrna Board of Appeals granted a variance to expand the rows in the parking lot from 15 per row to 27 per row. There will be at least two entrances constructed, one from Reihm Boulevard that will connect to Paddock Road and Route 13 and the other connecting to Atkinson Way. One driveway will be used only for tractor trailer parking and traffic.Shift changes are scheduled to occur at 2 a.m. for truck traffic, 8 a.m. for van arrivals and another one in the late afternoon. “Because as that early shift comes in and they get into their vans, they pack up and go out. But not everyone finishes deliveries at the same time. They're coming back as they finish their route. So that is more of a staggered shift,” Shiley added.While the proposed warehouse is relatively small compared to what is seen in northern Delaware in the last two years, it’s on par to other projects making their way through Kent County. For example, Jack Lingo has proposed just under 300,000 square feet of warehouse space in Dover.In comparison, Walmart is one of Smyrna’s largest private employers as it opened a 1.2 million square-foot distribution center off Wheatleys Pond Road, where 250 truck drivers come and go to ship scores of items to 200 fulfillment centers across the country.Traffic reports conducted on behalf of Scannell Properties show that 188 tractor trailers are expected to enter and exit the distribution center within a 24-hour period, with 90% of traffic coming from the north, and the rest coming from the south. Roughly 450 delivery vans will enter and exit the facility, 60% from the north and 40% from the south.“This is the largest development project we’ve had since Walmart, so there’s a lot of pieces — literally — that go into something as large and as complicated as this,” Smyrna Senior Planner Jeremy Rothwell said.Last year, Scannell Properties was reportedly looking in Delaware for room for its next Amazon facility. Eventually, Amazon signed a lease with Gillis Gilkerson for a small warehouse in Seaford. Kent Economic Partnership Executive Director Linda Parkowski said last month that Scannell Properties did not forget about Kent County for future prospects.This project would be Scannell Properties’ first in the First State, as many of its build-to-suit prospects are in the Carolinas or the Midwest.Duck Creek Business Campus was a project years in the making, as KRM Development bought the 220 acres in 31 parcels of farmland off Route 13 in 2003. In late 2020, KRM Development broke ground on its first building, tentatively planning roughly 1 million to 1.5 million square feet, depending on demand.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 in the next 20 years. In March, Procter & Gamble signed a lease for the first spec building at the Duck Creek Business Campus. The multinational consumer goods company has a Dover plant off Route 15 that manufactures and distributes baby wipes.