Development

Industrial park, warehouses coming to Metrolina Tradeshow Expo site

4/23/99 Betty Laughinghouse (L) and Anne Ashworth(R) puruse long tables which featured a little bit of everything from fine china to antique toys.
4/23/99 Betty Laughinghouse (L) and Anne Ashworth(R) puruse long tables which featured a little bit of everything from fine china to antique toys.

Beacon Partners is planning to build an industrial park on the site of the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo on Statesville Road, the company said Monday.

Jon Morris, a partner at Beacon, said the new industrial park will total about 1.2 million square feet of warehouse, distribution and light manufacturing space on the 94-acre property. Morris said Beacon will attempt to honor the five decades of flea markets, concerts, fairs and other events at the fairgrounds with commemorative plaques or other markers.

“Everybody has a story about that place,” said Morris, who recalled seeing a Dave Matthews Band show at Metrolina in 1995. “We talked about honoring the heritage.”

Owner Linda Pistone told the Observer Wednesday she is under contract to sell the site near Statesville and Old Statesville Roads, which has been in her family for more than 50 years. She has operated Metrolina for 32 years and said she is ready to move on. The final events on the site will be held in early June, and vendors will then clear their wares, with the fairgrounds and expo center closing permanently by June 30.

Morris said Beacon, which acquires and develops office and industrial space, has been eyeing the site for more than 20 years. Warehouses and other industrial sites occupy much of the surrounding land, and Beacon has acquired two industrial parks nearby on Statesville Road in recent years.

The deal to buy the site should close by late March. The sale price has not been disclosed yet. The vacancy rate for warehouse space in Charlotte was 8.3 percent in the third quarter, according to Xceligent Karnes. That’s down from 13.3 percent in 2011, indicating a demand for more space.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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