A joint venture between CIRI Land Development Company (CLDC) and Merritt Properties, the Merritt Business Park (Merritt I-66) is a six-building, 596,900-square-foot light-industrial/bulk warehouse development conveniently located in Manassas, Va., along Interstate 66, the busy commuter freeway that runs between Middletown, Va., and Washington, D.C. The development site was selected based on being near the intersection of I-66 and Route 234, a key feature in its success.
CLDC entered into the investment in March 2017. The first phase of the development, including sitework and construction of two buildings, was completed in late 2017. Core and shell construction on all six buildings was completed in late 2020, with tenant improvements in the final building set to be completed this spring.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on the U.S. economy, including on people’s jobs and livelihoods, the warehousing and logistics industry is one of the few sectors where employment is actually higher than before the pandemic. A boom in online sales has heightened demand for industrial and distribution-center space, with e-commerce cushioning the shortfall from traditional street-side businesses.
“There was already very limited land available in the Northern Virginia/D.C. Metro market, along with limited available Class-A industrial space” said Andrew Romerdahl, senior director, CIRI Real Estate. “Merritt I-66 has been a strong performer during the pandemic and the industrial segment remains attractive, especially compared to other asset classes.”
The Merritt I-66 project recently achieved stabilization, with the final leases executed in October 2020. Thanks to interest from a diverse mix of tenants—including equipment-rental companies, furniture distributors, manufacturers, and moving and storage companies—all six buildings are expected to be 100% occupied by summer 2021.