Ports & Terminals

Two-Phase Warehouse Project Adds Capacity To Port Of Little Rock

In August, a major new warehouse was dedicated in the Port of Little Rock, Ark. It’s the first of two that will give the port almost a million square feet of new, Class A warehouse space.

Ground was broken for Phase I, the first warehouse, in July 2022. The new warehouse is a 537,845-square-foot cross-dock facility with 68 dock doors, 52 future doors, four drive-in doors, 160 trailer parking spaces and 449 regular parking spaces. It’s part of an expansion project whose official name is the South Port Commerce Center Project.

Ground is being cleared and prepared for Phase II, the second warehouse, which will be a 428,000-square-foot building. The project is headed by Kansas City-based commercial real estate firm Bluestem Partners. Bailey Construction & Consulting LLC of Little Rock is the lead contractor.

Spec Project

It’s the first time the port has gone ahead with a spec project of this size. Bryan Day, executive director of the Port of Little Rock, is confident that both spaces will have no trouble finding tenants. So are the project’s investors. First Security Bank provided a $34 million construction loan to a joint venture between Bluestem and Asset Management Group.

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Day told The Waterways Journal the project is anticipating a shift of manufacturing and an increase of logistics needs to the heartland and mid-South. At last year’s groundbreaking, Jim Cargill, chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, said, “The South Port Commerce Center provides the Little Rock region with much-needed, class-A industrial product to market to companies across the globe.”

Amazon recently opened a $160 million warehouse in North Little Rock. Dollar General, Tractor Supply Company and finished wood products firm Trex have all announced distribution facilities in or near the port in recent months.

The Port of Little Rock encompasses an industrial park located along the banks of the Arkansas River, 7 miles from downtown Little Rock. The 2,600-acre industrial park—the largest in the mid-South—has more than 40 businesses. The Port of Little Rock operates two river terminals (a river port and a slackwater harbor) and a short-line railroad, as well as Foreign Trade Zone 14. Little Rock sits in the middle of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.