$850,000 grant will fund road extension for ‘460 Commerce Center’

Published 4:30 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved an $850,000 grant to fund a roadway extension for the “460 Commerce Center,” a roughly 352,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility planned for the Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park.

The center, named for its proximity to the four-lane Route 460 that passes through Isle of Wight, is to be located on a roughly 43-acre Economic Development Authority-owned parcel adjacent to the existing Safco Products and Keurig Dr. Pepper distribution centers just outside Windsor’s town limits.

The grant will fund the extension of William A. Gwaltney Way within Phase 2 of the intermodal park to connect to the 460 Commerce Center site, according to the October edition of Isle of Wight Economic Development’s “Inside the Isle” newsletter.

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A ceremonial groundbreaking for the new site, originally planned for this summer, has been pushed back but should still happen this year, according to Economic Development Director Chris Morello.

“A groundbreaking is ceremonial in nature, and rarely the same as a start on actual construction,” Morello said. “We are told by the developer that a groundbreaking will be happening soon. Actual construction would begin sometime in 2024.”

The Economic Development Department had referred to the project as a “speculative Class A industrial development” in May, meaning no definite tenant had been found as of five months ago when the project was announced. Class A, in real estate, refers to the highest-quality construction in the most desirable locations.

Morello, who announced last week he would leave his role come Oct. 20 and return to his native Newport News, told The Smithfield Times in May that the target market for the 460 Commerce Center was intended to be either light manufacturing or large-scale logistics and supply chain firms, or familiar retail firms looking to take advantage of Isle of Wight’s proximity to the Port of Virginia.

The site plan calls for 80 truck-loading dock doors, 40 on each side of the building, plus 58 employee parking spaces and 75 spaces for trailer parking.

The Economic Development Department, as of May, was anticipating occupancy by the third or fourth quarter of 2024.

Plans for another distribution center, this one proposed for an undeveloped third phase of the intermodal park, are also in the works. Air Station General LC, a Virginia Beach company, has contracted to purchase 135 EDA-owned acres along Walters Highway for a roughly 130,000-square-foot warehouse that for much of the year has gone by the codename “Project Air Station.”