Recently, as reported in the Charlotte Business Journal, the Charlotte region is experiencing explosive growth in transportation and warehouse employment. Nowhere in the region has this growth been more evident than in the suburban submarkets to the north and south of Charlotte. Fueled by red-hot development, York County is leading the way as the next frontier for Charlotte’s industrial developers.
Powered by national trends in retail and on-line shopping behaviors, the region’s logistical assets, and a growing regional marketplace, from 2013 to 2017, the Charlotte region has experienced a 58.6% growth in transportation and warehouse employment – the most of any “emerging market” highlighted in the CBRE report cited in the article. Over the same period, using a similar definition for this sector, York County has experienced employment growth of 33%.
Locally, this employment growth is fueled by a very robust and active industrial development market speculating in the light industrial, transportation and logistics sectors. According to the CBJ article, York County has experienced net absorption of 1.3 M SF of industrial space so far this year. And, according to CoStar market analytics, of the 6.2 M SF of inventory under construction in the Charlotte region, 26% (1.6 M SF) is under construction here in York County. This is only outdone by the rapid growth seen by our neighbor to the north, Cabarrus County, which is also experiencing similar development trends. Based on York County Economic Development’s analysis, an additional 1.9 M SF will be delivered in York County in late 2018 through 2019 and an additional 5.5 M SF is planned or identified for future development over the next several years.
Companies such as NFI Distribution, Stanley Black & Decker and Ross Distribution have all recently announced or expanded operations in York County. Beyond the blistering market growth discussed above, below are just a few more reasons why York County continues to see success:
York County Advantages
As one of Charlotte’s hottest submarkets, broadly considered to be a new frontier for industrial development, York County provides several advantages to developers and future tenants. The first advantage – location. York County is ideally situated on I-77 and provides convenient access to the I-85 corridor, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and the Port of Charleston. The Port, which is approximately 185 miles (and less than three hours), is the most efficient, and soon to become, the deepest port on the East Coast. York County is also fortunate to be located very close to CLT and the Norfolk Southern Intermodal Terminal, which is only 30 minutes from Rock Hill. In fact, York County often provides more convenient access to the airport than other submarkets to the north. In addition to these geographic advantages, prime industrial sites in other submarkets are getting snatched up, while industrial zoned land available for development is still readily available in York County.
State and local incentives make York County’s business climate very attractive. Property tax abatements and negotiated Fee-In-Lieu of Tax (FILOT) Agreements with York County, allow developers and future tenants the ability to significantly reduce local property taxes. South Carolina also provides incentives for job creation through statutory income tax credits, discretionary Job Development Credits, cash grants, and training assistance through readySC. These incentives make operating costs in York County more competitive, and under certain circumstances, more advantageous to other regional locations.
Finally, York County has an abundant workforce that is well versed in the skills necessary to support the manufacturing, transportation and logistics industries. With approximately 875,000 workers within a 45-minute drive of Rock Hill (eastern York County), and nearly 3% annual population growth, developers and tenants are confident that they can hire locally or recruit the employees they need. Not to mention, York County is a net exporter of its workforce, sending more than 50% of its workers each day to surrounding counties. This offers employers who locate here the ability to hire local and recruit employees frustrated by the grind of rush hour traffic. Material handling and logistics programs at York Technical College and the Rock Hill Applied Technology Center also collaborate with local manufacturing and distribution companies to support training and employee pipeline needs.
Look to the Future
As we look to the future, YCED estimates that there is an additional 5.5 M SF planned or under control by private industrial developers in York County. Though it may not all occur in the current economic cycle, York County stands well positioned as a new frontier for industrial developers – meeting the Charlotte region’s growing demand and trend toward becoming a logistics hub.
For more details on specific industrial development projects underway in York County, please visit the York County Economic Development’s website.
York County Economic Development