New Development Planned for Milo-Grogan
A new development is planned for a 12-acre parcel of undeveloped land in the northeast corner of Milo-Grogan. Work could start as soon as this spring on the first of what could eventually be nine buildings on the site, each offering flex commercial and light industrial space for lease.
The project, located at the eastern terminus of Camden Avenue, is being developed by East Milo Partners, LLC.
Bob Lester is an investor and partner in the development and also the CEO of Dura-Seal, an asphalt and concrete contractor currently located nearby, at 731 Mulberry St. The company plans on moving its operations into one of the new buildings.
Lester said he was initially drawn to the site because of its size, convenient freeway access, and centralized location – only five minutes from both Downtown and the airport.
When Lester first presented the idea to the Milo-Grogan Area Commission, though, he also became excited about becoming a part of the tight-knit community, and about the chance to bring some investment to a part of the neighborhood that has not seen much in recent years.
“There was some internal strife in the community about the property values improving on the west side of the freeway, but on the east side, nothing is happening,” he said. “This is an opportunity to bring a fairly big project to the area that hopefully will spark other investment.”
Developers and home renovators have been active in Milo-Grogan since at least 2015, when construction started on the 600,000-square-foot Rogue Fitness facility. New apartments and single family homes have followed, but most of that activity has been concentrated in a relatively small segment of the neighborhood, west of I-71 and south of East Fifth Avenue.
Lester said that several other construction-oriented businesses have expressed interest in leasing space in the new development, and a catering company is close to signing a lease. He said that he could also see a restaurant or a brewery finding a fit there.
As for the prospect of taking on a $12 million project like this at a time when there is so much uncertainty surrounding the economy, Lester is confident the demand will be there.
“Flex space warehousing is different than office space, where you have everyone working remotely,” he said. “That is not something you can do with light industrial businesses – you have to have 20-foot, clear-height buildings, and people can’t do that in their houses.”