Pretlow Industrial Park getting feedback

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, February 20, 2013


FRANKLIN—Franklin’s Pretlow Industrial Park is getting noticed.

“The attention the industrial park has been getting over the past few months is really positive,” said Amanda Jarratt, president and chief executive officer of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. “It is unfortunate, but this park had fallen to the back of people’s minds. Thanks to our partnership with Hollingsworth, it has been brought back to the forefront.”

The City of Franklin in July contracted with real estate developer Hollingsworth for three years at $18,000 annually to find businesses for the 173-acre industrial park on Pretlow Street off Route 58. FSEDI is paying the bill for the first year.

Money Mailer is the only business in the park and closing on March 17. The building it occupies is privately owned.

As a part of the partnership, Hollingsworth is preparing two parcels for development using a method that would allow a tenant to move in within six months instead of the typical year, said Chip Sisk, industrial real estate director for Hollingsworth.

“Once we have permit approval and a site is graded, it would only take four months to construct,” Sisk said.

“This process puts the city six months ahead of the curve, allowing a tenant to move in that much more quickly.”

Hollingsworth determined there’s a need in southeastern Virginia for 100,000-square-foot buildings with 32-foot ceiling clearance, said Tom Wortham, senior vice president of architecture and business development for Hollingsworth.

“After reviewing every project that was landed in Virginia in the past seven years, we found a hole in the research for single-user buildings in that range,” Wortham said.

A new 109,000-square-foot building is ready for permit approval.

“All we have to do now is find a tenant,” he said. “We already put together a marketing package and we believe it is a very marketable building.”

Hollingsworth began marketing the digitally designed building nationally on Feb. 12 by using its database of more than 13,000 contacts in addition to commercial real estate brokerage firms, Sisk said.

“We are starting to get the city’s name out there,” Sisk said. “People out there know where Franklin is and they know you’re here and what is being offered at Pretlow.”

Hollingsworth has a similar partnership at the Southpoint Business Park in Prince George County. That project in the last 15 years generated in $1 billion in capital investment and close to 1,000 jobs.

“This partnership has opened us to a vast network of contacts that we didn’t have access to,” Jarratt said.

“We are definitely on the right pathway; things are falling into place for this project.”

It also allows FSEDI to market ready-to-start sites to companies, which wasn’t an option before.

“This is huge for us,” Jarratt said. “It makes us much more competitive within the region.”

“We look forward to seeing the benefits of this project,” said City Manager Randy Martin.