Southern Advantage

Close the Transportation Loop for Speed and Efficiency

The Hollingsworth Companies is building ever larger industrial buildings. Huntsville, Alabama has a 403,000 SF building under construction and in SouthPoint Virginia located in Prince George County. We are building our first 650,250 SF 40’ clear tilt-up concrete industrial facility. That is roughly 15 acres of floor space under roof. That equals a lot of concrete. For each acre of concrete floor, it takes about 80 very full truckloads of concrete. That is why it is important to try to find a concrete plant that is close to a construction site the difference between 5 and 10 miles makes a significant difference in price as well as reliability and consistency of deliveries to the job site.

Our schedule called for placing an acre of floor slab in a day…every day for 15 days straight. Each day the pour would start at 2:00AM and the crews were paced to place between 80 -100 cubic yards of concrete an hour for 10 hours straight. That is ten trucks an hour for ten hours straight, or an average of one every six minutes! It quickly becomes obvious that normal traffic even on a short trip of 5-10 miles is not likely to deliver that kind of consistency for 10 hours straight even for a single day, much less 15 days in a row. Even if you could make the trip in 15 minutes, you would need to have two on route to the job and two more returning to the batch plant for each truck unloading. With four trucks unloading simultaneously, that gets to 20 trucks running the circuit for 10 hours.

Driving a concrete mixer truck is not at all like driving other trucks. They are very large, very heavy, and the driver must also know how to care for the concrete onboard and how to properly unload it for the placement crew. It is a highly skilled position that is hard to find. This can be a bigger limiting factor than the ability of the concrete plant to produce concrete.

So, how do you make this problem go away? The answer is an on-site concrete batch plant. With the concrete batch plant 1200 feet away instead 5 miles, the six-minute average unload time can be achieved with a total of 8 trucks making the 2400-foot round trip! The entire slab is now in place and ready for the 400 truckloads of concrete to be placed in the wall panels.

Preparation Makes It Possible

Time is a precious commodity. We all get the same dose every day, but once it is gone it is gone. We often get requests for the impossible. “Can you build a 400,000 square foot building for us in three weeks?” The answer to that request is, “No.” The important follow-up is what we are able to provide.

We recently had such a request from Polaris Manufacturing in Huntsville, Alabama. We are just a couple of miles from their assembly plant, so they were already familiar with the Hollingsworth Companies. They knew we had started construction on a 404,738 SF warehouse, but they needed to be in the space by the end of the year; and, our building wasn’t scheduled to be finished until Q3 2021. The location was perfect, but the timing just didn’t work. So, they looked for other options in town. They found an option that could work, but there were “issues” that made the possibility problematic.

The Hollingsworth Companies started the SouthPoint Business Park in Huntsville, AL in 1999. We acquired the land, rezoned the property, installed industrial grade utilities to the site, and began building speculative industrial buildings starting with a 108,960 SF building. The number of facilities we have built in SouthPoint is now ten, totaling 1,557,868 SF. That is twenty years of preparation for success. With the increased demand for suppliers to locate close to Mazda-Toyota and Polaris, the Hollingsworth Companies took the unprecedented decision to keep two speculative industrial buildings available for immediate occupancy. We had just completed two facilities at 109,080 SF and another at 173,888 SF to meet our goal. Before we had even completed construction on these facilities, we went even further to start construction on the 404,738 SF facility. We took these steps to be prepared for opportunities that might arise. Then, when the other option for Polaris hit a dead-end, they asked the impossible; and, we had alternatives.

We couldn’t complete the 404,738 SF building in three weeks, but we could get them into our other two completed buildings totaling 282,968 SF in two weeks; and, when the 404,738 SF building is completed, they can move to it and cancel the leases of the other two facilities! And, to help them with the costs of moving twice, we offered the two short-term facilities at steep discounts. This was in the realm of the possible! Polaris and their entire corporate team worked through the Christmas holidays to complete the leases and start moving product! It pays to be prepared.

Business Continuity

We have been in the industrial building business a long time. Unlike most of the other developers in the industrial sector, we build only for ourselves and hold the buildings long term. We build them like we are going to own them, because we do! Over 35 years of building and owning buildings, you learn you what lasts and what is a constant maintenance headache.

One area we have always focused on is the roof. A good industrial building has to have a good floor and a good roof, or it isn’t worth much. We have been long-time advocates for standing seam Galvalume roofing. It is very economical initially and saves weight and money. The material is guaranteed for 25 years and often lasts more than 30 years giving good service.

When you hold on to buildings for the long term as a core part of your business, you eventually run past the 30-year life of a Galvalume standing seam roof. You can remove it and replace it as if you were installing a new roof. However, this is labor intensive to double handle the roofing sheets. It would be good for another 30 years and make it literally like new, but what do you do when you have an operating business in the building with millions of dollars of equipment that needs to continue to run day and night?

It depends a bit on the capacity of your structure to carry additional weight, but you can actually leave the original roof in place and add another roof over it. This results in a brand-new roof and the best part is that the operating company in the building below never knows it is happening, and they can operate in their normal mode without disruption.

We have approached the roof-over-roof a couple of ways. If we have the additional structural capacity to accept 3 more PSF of roof loading, the best long-term solution is to go metal over metal and put a new layer of standing seam Galvalume roofing over the original roof. This gets you another 30 years of roof life for the building.

If you are limited in the amount of additional weight the structure can carry (because the tenant is hanging many pipes and other items from the roof for instance), a second method is to fill the standing seam flutes with rigid insulation and cover with a TPO roof membrane. This solution is fast and inexpensive but has a more limited service life of 20 years.

The most important consideration is keeping the tenant operational. We work hard to understand our customer’s business and do what we can to keep them going, because they keep us going!

It’s Time to Go BIG

For those of you that know our history, The Hollingsworth Companies first industrial facility constructed in Clinton, TN was 65,000 SF. In the early years, our industrial portfolio consisted of buildings from 45,000 to 75,000 SF primarily in the East Tennessee market.

As the company grew and the industrial market in the Southeast changed, our focus as a company also changed. Business parks were established in Prince George, VA, Mocksville, NC, and Huntsville, AL. With the addition of these three SouthPoint Business Parks, building sizes also increased ranging from 75,000 to 250,000 SF. While building sizes were increased to support larger customer requirements, our focus remained in tertiary markets with single tenant facilities.

As we established our reputation for reliably constructed lease facilities, we started accepting build-to-suit projects that fit our portfolio. Our main requirements were single tenant projects, tertiary markets, high clear heights, close proximity to major freeways, and steel/masonry construction. These projects typically range in size from 150,000 to 300,000 SF.

While our primary customer is looking for a single tenant facility from 100,000 to 200,000 SF, we have increasing requests by our prospects for larger facilities as well. To meet this demand, we have begun construction on a three-building project for facilities that range from 400,000 to 660,000 SF. We quietly broke ground for a 400,000 SF tilt wall facility on our Huntsville, Alabama advantage site in June. Within 60 days, we will follow this with a 660,000 SF facility in Prince George, VA. The third building will be a 400,000 SF facility, final location to be determined in Tennessee. These larger facilities will be tilt wall construction, 50+ dock doors, 40’ clear height, 60’ x 60’ bay spacing, LED lighting, and ESFR fire suppression system.

We look forward to the next step in our evolution as a company. While we will have larger building projects going forward as well as our normal sizes, we will also continue to focus on build-to-suit projects that support economic development agencies in the secondary markets of the Southeastern United States. We are very bullish on the Southeast and believe the work horse of the American economy will continue to be small to midsize companies located in the Southeast.

For information on our standard 90,000 to 250,000 SF new available facilities, a build-to-suit, or a 400,000 to 600,000 SF facility, please contact Tom Mann at (865) 719-6884.

SouthPoint Business Parks

For over 30 years, The Hollingsworth Companies has provided single tenant, industrial space in select markets throughout the Southeast. The company’s original facilities were located in SouthPoint Business Parks that the company developed based on a 60-item criteria. This criterion was based on the company’s experience working on state and regional economic development projects and the customer profile that best fit our business model.

The original, general criteria for these parks included the following:

  • Located in the Southeast US in tertiary markets: the American South is not only vibrant and dynamic; it is also highly industrialized and has become a magnet for business investment from all parts of the globe.
  • Right to Work locations: The South has almost universally adopted Right-to-Work legislation. This type of business environment is crucial for companies who need flexibility in their labor force and competitive labor rates.
  • Access: The Hollingsworth Companies researched the very best locations with ease of access for quick and cost-effective distribution. All of locations are less than five miles from one, if not three, major interstate highways, and no more than 20 minutes from airport service.
  • Infrastructure: In order to locate a modern factory, industry needs the right tools. All locations needed to provide highest capacity electrical, internet, water, sewer and natural gas services.
  • Quality, Cost Competitive, Labor: Industry, no matter how automated, still needs qualified workers and support staff. Parks were selected in locations in close proximity to mid-size labor markets, and close to colleges and trade schools.
  • Business-Friendly Environment: The communities we call home understand and value the economic impact of the jobs and the capital investment that industry expansion or relocation brings. It does not take hundreds of jobs or tens of millions of dollars in investment to get the support of the government and communities.

Facilities available in our SouthPoint Parks include:

  • Alabama: 173,888 SF building currently available, 109,120SF building available late Q3.
  • North Carolina: 108,960 SF and 253,000 SF building currently available.
  • East Tennessee: 115,300 SF building currently available and 126,800 SF available November 2020.
  • Virginia: 194,880 SF building available in late Q3.

While our parks continue to be a large part of our business strategy, we also provide build-to-suit services with a variety of lease or funding options. We provide these services in the Southeast in similar locations to our parks. To find out more, contact Tom Mann at 865-457-3701 or

Growing Together

In Gadsden, AL, the Hollingsworth Companies first met the leadership team of Fehrer Automotive in May of 2009. Fehrer was at that time the key global seat foam supplier to Mercedes and were pursuing Volkswagen Group in Chattanooga. Fehrer was successful in landing the VW business and by December we negotiated a 10-year lease with Fehrer for half of a 238,000 SF building we own in Gadsden. In order to help them establish their new North American location, we offered them a flat rent for 2 years with a significant rebate as rent was paid. The collaboration paid off for both companies. In September of 2012, Fehrer committed to take the balance of the building for a 10-year term with a phased-in rent for the added space over the first two years as they installed and certified an additional production line. This enabled Fehrer to continue to grow their volume and take on a new customer, Tesla. We also approved in February of 2015 a sub-lease to a key supplier of Fehrer to co-locate in their space. Fehrer’s business continued to grow and we helped them finance needed upfits in June of 2018 with an early renewal and extension of the lease term to 15 years. This too was successful and allowed Fehrer to land additional business.

So, by December of 2019, we reached agreement on an expansion of the 238,000 SF building to 491,000 SF and a new long-term lease. This also encouraged Fehrer to relocate some production from Germany to Gadsden. Fehrer is now one of the largest employers in Etowah County, and they will be adding more jobs with the expansion. The Hollingsworth Companies’ collaborative approach to tailoring the lease to fit the economics of Fehrer’s business cycle was even more important than our ability to make modifications to the building to support their manufacturing systems. By understanding their business model, we were able to reduce their cashflow needs at a time when they needed to invest in equipment that would result in increased revenues, because the lead time to revenue generating volume production is two years. This is a long time to be pregnant. However, the pain and discomfort are definitely worth it. We are ten years in on a relationship that will last at least 25 years. We are pleased we played a small part in enabling Fehrer’s growth by 400%. What can we help your company do?

Campofrio to Locate New Facility in SouthPoint, VA

Campofrio Food Group has leased the 143,790 SF, refrigerated facility in SouthPoint Business Park, Virginia from The Hollingsworth Companies. Campofrio, one of the largest companies in the processed meats sector, are well known for their European style meat products sold across Europe. They have recently enjoyed a very rapid growth in the United states for a company that before 2014 was primarily a European focused company.

The Hollingsworth Companies has been building in Prince George County, Virginia since 1998.  This facility was originally developed as a 108,960 SF distribution building and later it was expanded to 143,790 SF with 34,800 SF of refrigerated space.  With the Campofrio lease, just over 50,000 SF of the dry space will be converted into additional refrigerated space making it the largest food grade, refrigerated building in The Hollingsworth Companies’ portfolio.  Tom Wortham, SVP of Business Development for The Hollingsworth Companies stated, “Moving away from highly processed foods with a long shelf life to temperature-sensitive fresh food products requires food distribution closer to the customer.  SouthPoint Business Park in Prince George, Virginia is an excellent location to reach the high-density population of the northeast market.  Because consumers value convenience and fast delivery, demand for cooler distribution space is projected to continue as the growing food industry keeps refrigerated warehouse facilities at or near full capacity.”

New 194,880 SF Facility Started

In other SouthPoint Virginia news, construction has started for another facility in SouthPoint Business Park in Prince George, Virginia.  A 194,880 SF facility, ideal for distribution or manufacturing, with 60’ x 60’ column spacing, 32’ clear height, LED lighting and ESFR fire suppression system is under way.  SouthPoint Virginia is in the Richmond MSA with immediate access to I-95, I-85, I-295, is less than 25 miles to I-64, and just 72 miles to the Port of Norfolk making it an excellent location to support clients all along the eastern seaboard. The lot has the capacity to have 80 truck parks, and the building can be customized to specific tenant specifications prior to construction completion.

For information on the new building under way in SouthPoint Business Park, Virginia or a build-to-suit facility in your community, please contact Tom Mann at 865-719-6884.

The Need for Speed

We have the need for SPEED once again! The Industrial Real Estate Market has returned to the days when the “how soon” question comes before the “how much does it cost” question. Developers are building speculative space again and Build-to-Suit projects are still going strong. Supply is growing, but vacancy rates are still dropping. We have always been firm believers in the notion that you can’t sell any corn flakes if you don’t have any on the shelf. We have been filling our shelves by building multiple speculative industrial buildings in the same park simultaneously, but that is not enough. Some projects, particularly on the manufacturing side, have unique requirements that are not included in speculative buildings. The process layout or other technical considerations can drive the project to specific requirements. That is why, in addition to our speculative Finish-to-Suit Industrial Buildings that can be fit up in 60 days, we have also invested in pre-graded, and fully permitted sites with building plans that are flexible and can be adapted to the particular Build-to-Suit project needs using the in-hand permit. This can save three to six months in the project schedule. If your build-to-suit project can use our prototype quick-ship building with minor modifications, it is possible to get a customized build-to-suit facility in 6 months. The process efficiencies gained for years and years into the future amply repay the time it takes to get it right.

The above scenario recently unfolded on a project in North Carolina. The Build-to-Suit client was fully expecting a year or more to construct their new facility. When they realized we could deliver them a facility in half that time, they went back and got commitments from their equipment suppliers to deliver the process equipment sooner so they could start reaping the benefits of the new facility even sooner.

Having a permit in hand is not exactly a magic wand, but it is close! With a pr e-graded fully permitted site, all the major risk factors for unknown conditions that cost time and money are eliminated. Most clients are aware of problems hidden under the dirt, but sometimes even more challenging and less predictable these days can be the permitting process itself. Some jurisdictions add 6 months to a project schedule to get the necessary approvals. Having the permit in hand and being able to immediately mobilize and begin installing foundations is a game changer. That is why we don’t call our pre-graded sites “pad sites” (which is a label hung on any flat spot of dirt), we call them “foundation-ready sites”.  Can you dig it?

Cold Storage As A Business Model

Cold storage is the warehousing or transportation of any temperature-controlled product that prevents that substance from decaying or not adhering to laws and regulations. These include products like perishable food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and consumer products that can’t survive in normal storage conditions.

The market for cold storage includes both public (3PL) and private warehouses. The public segment holds the largest share in the U.S market. A public warehouse offers various services such as storage, handling, and transportation for a fee and is operated as an independent business. Given the high costs associated with construction and maintenance of cold storage facilities,  development of private warehousing is limited to large companies.

One main factor dominating the cold chain market is the power of consumers. Consumer tastes have changed and continue to evolve towards a preference for healthier fresh food products in a wide variety of options. Moving away from highly processed foods with a long shelf life to temperature sensitive perishable food products requires an adjustment in the food supply chain. From U.S. ports to distribution centers, 3PLs and privately-owned refrigerated warehouses, designing a cold chain that meets consumer needs can be expensive.

The barrier to entry is very high for industrial cold storage infrastructure from a cost and availability standpoint. There are a number of factors that influence these costs, including the cooling equipment, additional insulation, and the facilities location. While several variables will affect the overall cost of cold storage, the cost per square foot is higher than standard warehousing. According to management firm JLL, “cold storage construction cost averages $150-170 per square foot, compared to $50-65 per square foot for dry warehousing space”.

There is virtually no speculative market creating new supply in cold storage like there is in the dry warehouse market. This scarcity of new construction and low turnover volume of existing  buildings causes wild fluctuations in pricing from $2.50 to $16.00 SF based on the quality, market demand, and location of facilities.

The Hollingsworth Companies currently has a 143,790 SF facility available for lease in Prince George, Virginia. The warehouse includes 34,800 SF of cold storage separated into freezer, cooler, and cool dock with 10 loading docks. The facility also includes 101,710 SF of dry space with an additional 6 loading docks.

For more information regarding this facility, please contact Tom Mann at or 865-457-3601.

SouthPoint North Carolina’s Expansion Continues

The Phase III infrastructure expansion in the SouthPoint Business Park located in Mocksville, North Carolina is completed.  A total of 85 acres of land was developed into 4 pre-graded, foundation-ready building sites totaling 641,000 SF of additional industrial space.  The buildings in the Phase III portion of the park will range in size from 108,960 SF to 253,052 SF.   With this expansion, the SouthPoint Business Park has become one of the largest semi-rural industrial parks in the state. 

The first building to be completed in this expansion was a steel and masonry, Class A, 108,960 SF facility that is now available for lease.  Construction is now underway for the second of four buildings in the Phase III expansion.  This new project will be a 253,052 SF facility that is designed for a single tenant on a long-term lease.  The likely tenant will be a light manufacturing or distribution company.  North Carolina enjoys the best corporate tax rate in the Southern Manufacturing Region.  Also, the State of North Carolina has consistently provided strong incentive programs for companies that expand to the region.

The Hollingsworth Companies has seen this central location along the I-40, with support from state and local economic development agencies and favorable business taxes in the state, as key to the long-term success of SouthPoint Business Park, North Carolina. However, the catalyst that kicked off this aggressive expansion was the State of North Carolina’s regulatory reforms that relieved the crippling cost burdens of the 2012 IECC. The regulatory reforms reduced the costs of industrial buildings by as much as 13% which has opened the door once again for developers like The Hollingsworth Companies to proactively invest in speculative industrial space.

The Hollingsworth Companies has developed 4 business parks located in:  Clinton, Tennessee; Mocksville, North Carolina; Prince George County, Virginia; and Tanner, Alabama.  SouthPoint Business Park in Mocksville is located 2 miles from I-40 and was founded in 1997.  Phase I of the SouthPoint Business Park was the development of 45 acres and 4 buildings that were constructed on this site for a total of 325,860 SF.  Phase II included the development of an additional 57 acres of land and 4 more buildings, totaling another 421,126 SF of industrial space.

Whether you are looking for an existing facility or a build-to-suit facility for your business expansion in the Southeast, please contact The Hollingworth Companies and allow them the opportunity to quote your next project.

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