Tradepoint Atlantic: From Former Steel Mill to East Coast Logistics Hub
Redeveloping a steel mill built to 19th century standards into an advanced, 21st century multi-modal, multi-commodity logistics hub is no small task. That’s exactly what’s happening in Baltimore at Tradepoint Atlantic, one of four projects that will be highlighted at NAIOP’s upcoming I.CON: Impact Projects, April 5-6, in Dallas.
NAIOP talked with Eric Gilbert, executive vice president, development, with Tradepoint Atlantic about the project.
NAIOP: Why is Tradepoint Atlantic unique? What intrigued you about the project?
Gilbert: I was first introduced to the project in 2015 and was immediately struck by its magnitude. It’s 3,100 acres – the largest privately owned industrial site and marine terminal on the East Coast. The property is unique in that it connects water, land and rail in an ideal location and size to serve as an East Coast industrial logistics hub. Our goal is to develop the marine port into a modern, highly-efficient multimodal platform that boosts the efficiencies of our customers’ supply chains. This is no coincidence – the infrastructure that was built as a result of a century of steelmaking will bring this remarkable redevelopment to life.
NAIOP: Tell us about two distinctive elements of Tradepoint Atlantic: the short rail and the deep water berth.
Gilbert: The interchange facility is a true advantage. We have a 100-mile short-line railroad network that has true dual connectivity to both CSX and Norfolk Southern tracks. We currently move nearly 10,000 rail cars per year, and are growing that business. Since the site was originally used for steelmaking operations, the port is more than capable of handling large ships. Our protected deep water berth has a large turning basin designed to handle large vessels. We have 36-feet of useable water depth at the berth that will be used for break bulk and finished product. Our finger pier has 42-foot depth and will handle dry and liquid products. We foresee activity of more than 2 million tons annually at the berth in the next couple years.
NAIOP: The site redevelopment included an immense brownfields remediation. Where does this clean-up stand?
Gilbert: Environmental clean up is the linchpin of the project. We are on schedule on both the environmental and demolition work. We’ve been working closely with the Maryland Department of the Environment and the EPA, and we’re all pleased with the progress.
NAIOP: This year, project was rebranded from Sparrows Point to Tradepoint Atlantic. Tell us about the change and what you are hoping to accomplish.
Gilbert: Sparrows Point has tremendous historic significance and is well-known throughout the Mid-Atlantic, thanks to its rich industrial heritage as home to Bethlehem Steel. The new name allows us the opportunity to gain global appeal and recognition as we reintroduce this innovative project as one of the most strategic logistic centers on the East Coast.
NAIOP: You recently signed FedEx as the first new tenant, with a 300,000 square-foot distribution center in the works. What’s next?
Gilbert: In our first year of operations, we have nearly 1 million square feet of existing business, and the addition of FedEx was a major plus. We expect to move ahead at a similar pace over the next several years, as the demolition work is completed in 2016 and we break ground on an 850,000 square foot facility this summer. The goal is complete 1 million square feet each year along with growing our retail, rail, tank storage and marine businesses during the next five years. Unique to a major industrial logistics hub is the fact that we have prime frontage on I-695 and expect to see absorption of 100 acres of retail and commercial development on our site during the next two years. It’s easy to understand why the future is flowing through Tradepoint Atlantic.
Take a deep dive into case studies of Tradepoint Atlantic and other industrial projects that have raised the bar at I.CON ’16: Impact Projects, April 5-6, in Dallas, Texas. Visit the conference website for details on case studies, keynote sessions and project tours.
Kathryn Hamilton, CAE, is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.