By Mary Carr Mayle
Savannah-based Dulany Industries Inc. is expected to announce Monday that it has reached an agreement with Greenfield Environmental Savannah Trust LLC to buy the 1,600-acre former site of Kerr McGee and Tronox off East President Street, with plans to turn the valuable waterfront tract into multi-use industrial complex.
The property, to be called SeaPoint Industrial Terminal Complex, is the largest private industrial site at the Port of Savannah. It features a mile of deep-water frontage, dual rail access into the port and infrastructure that includes a dock, utilities and a research and development facility.
Reed Dulany, president of Dulany Industries, said his company plans to clean-up the site, then redevelop some 375 acres into six or more plots for diversified multi-tenant use, focusing on high-tech manufacturing companies with compatible interests. The state will retain 1,000 acres in wetlands, and the project also will create a buffer for Historic Fort Jackson, he said.
“SeaPoint will offer everything from soup to nuts,” he said. “Our clients will have accessibility to rail, deep water, steam and solar energy, warehousing, R&D facilities and other amenities.
“We can build for the client or serve as a resource as they are building. We can manage, operate and service their facility or do none of the above if other synergies are present.”
The wharf facility will be refurbished for common usage by partnered logistics firms, materials handlers, bulk commodities transporters and other terminal operations, he said.
SeaPoint will be selective in offering the plots, taking a global approach in wooing companies that will benefit from the site’s unique characteristics and make good partners, he said.
“We may, for example, have a company that manufactures X and another company that supplies the components for X,” Dulany said.
“We have looked at properties all up and down the coast, and this site is truly unique in terms of size, deep water accessibility and existing infrastructure,” he said. “We couldn’t be more excited about its potential and look forward to bringing a large number of jobs and significant investment to the property.”
Dulany’s master plan for the site is similar to Bushy Park Industrial Complex, a 1,600-acre site on the Cooper River near Charleston, S.C., with deep water access and 500 acres of land available for development. It has attracted such global companies as Sun Chemicals, Kemira and AGFA Materials.
Cliff Dales, whose Colliers Savannah office will team with CBRE Savannah to market SeaPoint, said he expects the property to receive considerable interest at a global level.
“I have been marketing industrial real estate in the Savannah area for 30 years, and this is by far the most unique and exciting site I have seen or had the opportunity to work on,” he said.
“To have a mile of deep water, dock, rail, utilities, steam, R&D facilities and zoning in place and all together on one site is indeed rare anywhere.”
CBRE’s Bill Sparks agreed.
“SeaPoint’s existing infrastructure and site characteristics will attract a wide range of manufacturers and industrial users,” he said. “It is an exceptional property.”
Trip Tollison, president and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, said his organization will work with Dulany to attract the right companies to the site.
“This project will give Savannah much sought after property that will be perfect for port-related businesses and a great asset as SEDA markets Savannah with the goal to create jobs and attract investment to our region,” Tollison said, adding that having a well-established local company involved is a huge plus.
“It’s like ‘Buy Local’ on steroids,” he said.
With the acquisition of the property complete, Dulany’s next order of business is cleanup of the heavily industrial site that formerly housed American Cyanamide, Kerr McGee and, most recently, Tronox. He expects thatcould take up to two years.
“We feel privileged to be entrusted with the clean-up of this important site,” he said. “That is our first and foremost priority.”
The investigation and cleanup activities will take place under the oversight of the state Environmental Protection Division in consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both of which were instrumental in creating the innovative structure for the transaction between Dulany and the Savannah Trust, which was established as part of the global settlement of the Tronox bankruptcy. In January, 2013, the Savannah Trust put the property up for sale through a bidding process.
“Even before the establishment of the Savannah Trust, Dulany Industries had expressed a continuous, serious interest in acquiring the property,” said Marc Weinreich, managing principal of the Savannah Trust.
“(The trust ) looks forward to working with Dulany Industries to get this property put back to productive economic use in a manner protective of human health and the environment for the benefit of the people of Savannah and Chatham County.”
Dulany said he, too, is ready to get the process underway.
“This project could not have been achieved without the diligent and creative efforts of Mr. Weinreich, the U.S. EPA, the Georgia EPD, and the State of Georgia,” he said. “We are very much looking forward to continuing to work with them as we now begin the process of revitalizing this long neglected property.”
To see an example of the kind of industrial complex SeaPoint will be on Savannah’s eastside, go to http://www.bushyparkindustrialcomplex.com.
ABOUT DULANY INDUSTRIES
Headquartered in Savannah, family-owned Dulany Industries, Inc., is the parent company of Southern States Chemical, SeaGate Terminals and Champion Machine. Established in Augusta in 1897 as Southern States Phosphate and Fertilizer, the company moved to Savannah in 1902. Exiting the fertilizer manufacturing business in 2000, Dulany has grown into a diversified, industrial-based enterprise with locations in Savannah, Wilmington, N.C., and Norfolk, Va.