Even though the property has gone through multiple proposals — including a brief pitch as a landing spot for the Falcons and Amazon’s HQ2 — Berman said the timing couldn’t be better for new logistics space.
“With every square foot of retail space that we see being displaced — storefronts shrinking, malls shrinking — that square footage is moving to a logistics center,” Berman said. “A project like Victory Landing is perfectly positioned to take advantage of new trends in the marketplace.”
Georgia has experienced a industrial boom from the continue growth of e-commerce, a trend that accelerated amid disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Victory Landing Logistics Center is among several new logistics parks being planned throughout the state. Twelve of the 100 largest warehouse lease deals this year have taken place in metro Atlanta, the most in the country, according to real estate services firm CBRE.
The site is in area of unincorporated Clayton County known as Mountain View. It is a primarily wooded area near Hapeville, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, I-75 and the Perimeter. Berman said the airport was his primary draw to the land more than two decades ago.
“It’s the single most compelling job creator and logistics hub in the country if not the world,” he said of Hartsfield-Jackson. “To be close to it, it’s very exciting.”
Berman said he’s always envisioned the property being used for industrial or logistic purposes, but getting plans off the ground proved to be challenging. And there were lots of scuttled ideas.
The Great Recession stunted early industrial plans, but the property would later be included in county proposals to attract the Falcons and Amazon to Atlanta’s southside.
When the sports franchise and city leaders were negotiating the Falcons’ new stadium in 2013, Clayton County commissioners tried to woo the team to Mountain View. Berman said the proposal never had any real support and was promptly rejected.
“It died an appropriate death about 24 hours later,” Berman said. Mercedes-Benz Stadium would break ground the following year.
When Amazon was searching for a new headquarters in 2017, known as the HQ2 search, Clayton County commissioners placed a building moratorium for all of Mountain View to preserve the undeveloped area in case the e-commerce giant chose the Peach State. Amazon instead chose to split its project across locations in New York and Virginia, though the company scaled back its plans in the Big Apple.
The following year, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners tried to rezone the land to avoid warehouses from being built, causing tensions to boil over between residents, developers and the county’s leaders. However, Berman said they’ve all been able to get on the same page, and he said the county backs his company’s logistic park plans.
Erica Rocker, the economic development director of Clayton County, said county leaders hope the industrial development will help spark interest from residential, office and mixed-use developers to invest in the area.
“Even though it is industrial, it’s certainly igniting the interest for the set of pieces that we have zones office, retail and mixed-use,” she said. “We’re going to be very choosy and get some tier-one tenants in there.”
The industrial park will consist of five buildings with a focus on last-mile distribution. The first two buildings, which will comprise more than half of the park’s warehouse space, are set to begin construction next month and be open by early next year. A 150,000-square-foot building will be ready by the third quarter of 2023. All three will consist of speculative space, meaning they do not have named tenants attached to the projects. Berman said plans for the final two buildings remain fluid.
A groundbreaking is scheduled for Sept. 15.