Blue Steel Development seeks to add more industrial space to Apopka – GrowthSpotter
A number of industrial parks are taking off near the Orlando-Apopka airport, and more warehouse space may land here soon.
The Town of Apopka is currently reviewing a development plan that calls for the construction of three additional distribution centers totaling 575,000 square feet.
The developer linked to this project is no stranger to the region. Based in Lakeland Development of blue steel is set to build its Apopka 429 Industrial Park just west of SR 441. It covers 248 acres and can accommodate approximately 2.5 million square feet of warehouse space in three buildings, according to its website.
Blue Steel is now considering an adjacent assembly of parcels south of this park for another trio of distribution centers. This is titled Alterna Logistics Park, according to the site plans.
Blue Steel Development representatives did not return phone calls or emails for this story. Jim Hitt, director of community development at Apopka, told GrowthSpotter he understands the project is separate from Blue Steel’s other industrial park effort, but that roads will connect the two sites.
This industrial park, if approved, would join a nearby collection, including the Mid-Florida Logistics Park to the south. Developed by Missouri Blue Scope property groupthe park spans 180 acres with 2.3 million square feet of warehouse space and features global brands such as Amazon, Coke and Goya Foods.
In 2020, Philadelphia-based real estate investment management company Exeter Property Group purchased approximately 100 acres of land north of the Apopka 429 site. This $4.5 million acquisition also came with plans for an industrial park, although the land remains vacant today.
“You’ve got some big boys putting a lot of money into this market,” said Trevor Hall, Orlando-based executive managing director of land services with national brokerage Collier’s International.
In 2021, Hall’s company sold 55 acres of land along SR 441 to Orlando-based real estate firm Cadence Partners LLC in 2021. The plan at the time: five industrial buildings ranging from 79,724 square feet to approximately 400,000 square feet.
Nearby, another industrial park, dubbed Apollo, is under construction at 4212 Hogshead Road with 594,000 square feet of warehouse distribution space at 4212 Hogshead Road.
Advent Health plans to set up a 455,387 square foot distribution center in Apopka, 10 km from AdventHealth Apopka Hospital located at 2100 Ocoee Apopka Rd.
At a recent NAIOP conference held at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando, Tara Tedrow, a land use attorney with the law firm Lowndes, said she represents clients who were looking to install industrial along the highly residential Kelly Park interchange in Apopka.
“The Kelly Park Interchange neighborhood hasn’t been unlocked in terms of development potential, but it will be,” she said. “This industrial space is essential given its access to the interchange.”
In the first quarter of 2022, the Central Florida industrial market saw the delivery of 900,000 square feet of warehouse space with an additional 4.2 million square feet currently under construction, according to a recent report from Colliers.
When it comes to the amount of industrial development activity in Apopka, the town benefits from two key factors: land and location.
Apopka has quick access to I-4, as well as four major highways that provide connectivity throughout Florida: US 441, SR 429, SR 414, SR 451.
“I said Apopka is the gateway to Central Florida,” Hitt said. “And people working in all industrial warehouses recognize that. Connectivity is the main factor and Apopka has it better than most other regions.
Hitt said most of the land west of Orlando-Apopka Airport and south of General Electric Road has been vacant for years. Other areas, including along Hogshead Road, once contained nurseries which have since closed or sold off, making them ripe for industry.
“But we have made plans for many areas across Apopka that also include the Kelly Park interchange and this employment district, which will also have industrial warehouses and, most importantly, jobs,” Hitt said.
Blue Steel’s latest plan is for four parcels totaling approximately 70 acres located south of Orlando Apopka Airport and west of SR 441.
The packages belong to an entity known as Apopka Industrial Airport South, LLC, which purchased them all in 2021 for a total of $5.2 million.
The Florida Division of Corporations appoints Daniel O’Keefe, a real estate attorney with the Orlando-based law firm Shutts and Bowen, as agent for the entity that owns the land.
O’Keefe did not return phone calls or emails.
Blue Steel has completed over 5 million square feet of industrial real estate across multiple Central Florida municipalities. The company provides pre-construction, construction management, construction and design, general contracting and site development services, according to its website.
The company has worked with several Fortune 500 customers, including FedEx Freight, The Home Depot, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ikea, its website says.
In addition to industrial growth, Apopka is also experiencing a heavy dose of residential and commercial activity. Overall, the city has 84 development projects in the planning stages or under construction, according to city records provided to GrowthSpotter. In total, they would add 9,900 homes and more than 14 million square feet of commercial space to the city’s inventory.