Work begins on large distribution center off I-81 near Shippensburg

Construction of a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center is underway at Exit 29 of Interstate 81 in Shippensburg Township. - (Photo / Submitted)

Construction of a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center has started in the Shippensburg area, a sign that demand for mega warehouses remains strong in Central Pennsylvania.

Delaware County-based fund manager Equus Capital Partners Ltd. on Monday said work has started on its I-81 Commerce Park project off Exit 29 of Interstate 81 in Shippensburg Township.

The new distribution center is being built on a speculative basis on a 100-acre site off Cramer Road. The facility is expected to be completed by July 2019. The construction cost was not immediately available.

“Having speculative space available is crucial to being able to meet the needs of large users in this region,” said Dan DiLella Jr., a senior vice president at Equus and director of industrial land development efforts for BPG Development Co. LP, the firm’s development arm.

The southern corridor of I-81 from Harrisburg to Greencastle has become a prominent location for distribution centers because of its proximity to major cities along the East Coast and into the Midwest. The growing demands of e-commerce have been driving much of the recent warehouse growth in Central Pennsylvania.

The corridor is currently home to various Fortune 500 and global logistics companies such as Georgia Pacific, which also is located at Exit 29. Procter & Gamble Co. has a 1.7 million-square-foot distribution facility in nearby Southampton Township, Franklin County.

Other major distribution center tenants along the corridor include The Home Depot, Syncreon and Geodis.

According to real estate firm CBRE Group Inc., Cumberland and Franklin counties have more than 75 million square feet of existing industrial space. The vacancy rate is about 6 percent.

Irwin & Leighton Commercial Builders, a company from King of Prussia, has been hired to build the new distribution center for Equus.

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