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Logistics parks bring economic boost to Alabama

The network of logistics parks around Alabama is continuously expanding, creating warehouse space for retailers, manufacturers and others


 Gail Allyn Short


June 1, 2023

Order a book online, buy a new car at a dealership or purchase machine parts for your shop — the chances are pretty high that those items passed through a logistics park.

Simply put, logistics parks — sometimes called logistics centers — consist of clusters of industrial warehouses strategically positioned close to rail lines, roads, waterways or airports. Retailers and manufacturers use warehouse space to engage in handling, assembling, light manufacturing, storing or packing goods and materials before shipping them off to retail outlets or distribution centers.

The network of logistics parks around Alabama is continuously expanding with new ones being built across the state. Here’s a look at three that are changing the economic landscape in their regions.

Huntsville Logistics Center

The new Huntsville Logistics Center is a Class A industrial development site under construction along Old Highway 20 and Gunters Way and just off County Line Road.

Its 132 acres lie near the I-565, Greenbrier Parkway and Huntsville International Airport and industry heavy hitters like Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, Buffalo Rock, Amazon, Raytheon and NASA’s U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

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Once complete, the Huntsville Logistics Center’s four buildings will offer 2.2 million square feet of industrial warehouse space to lease from J.H. Berry & Gilbert Inc.

Edwin Moss, executive vice president of J.H. Berry & Gilbert.

“The Cooper Construction Team has made significant progress on grading the land site in the last few weeks for the Huntsville Logistics Center, and we expect phase one of the project to be complete by early 2024,” says J.H. Berry & Gilbert’s Executive Vice President Edwin Moss.

Moss says the build out of the logistics center will be “a phased development,” with buildings One and Two on the western part of the property making up the first phase of the project totaling over 1 million square feet and nearly $100 million of private capital investment.

“These buildings are unique to the market given that they will be the largest speculative industrial development in Huntsville with buildings ranging from 383,064 square feet to 587,645 square feet,” he says.

Moss says the warehouses will have the necessary depth to allow for more goods from inbound vehicles to be efficiently unloaded and then loaded onto outbound vehicles. The square footage, the depth and the clear height of 40 feet of the warehouses will make Huntsville Logistic Center buildings the ideal place for a variety of users to work, Moss says. 

“These buildings offer drive-through capabilities and are unique in the market as they can accommodate large square-foot tenant users with heavy transportation or utility needs with an expandable building connection option,” he says.

Moss says companies from a wide range of industries have already expressed their interest in setting up a logistics operation on the property.

“Due to the property’s unique offerings and strategic location, we’re confident that the property will continue to gain momentum as construction continues,” Moss says.

The $200 million project is a private investment, Moss says. The commercial real estate development firm, Flint Development, bought the land from a private seller.

“For projects such as this, the local municipalities don’t provide any incentives on the front end. However, if a manufacturing tenant ends up occupying any part or all of the facilities, there could be incentives for them given the nature of the workforce required for those operations,” he says.

And for the local economy, the Huntsville Logistics Center will bring in approximately 700 new, full-time jobs in addition to the 450 construction trade jobs to develop the logistics center facilities, Moss says.

“We’re confident that the true beneficiaries of this project will be the citizens of Huntsville.”