What happens when 320K square feet of space in Virginia Beach meets $6.2 million?

Artistic rendering of the future World Distribution Services warehouse at 1537 Air Rail Avenue in Virginia Beach. The refurbished warehouse will be 320,000 square feet with 20,000 square feet of dedicated food-grade space. (Southsdie Daily/Courtesy of World Distribution Services)
Artist rendering of the future World Distribution Services warehouse at 1537 Air Rail Ave. in Virginia Beach. (Southsdie Daily/Courtesy of World Distribution Services)

VIRGINIA BEACH — To bring a much-needed option for “secure, high quality” warehousing space close to the Port of Virginia, World Distribution Services has announced it will invest $6.2 million in collaboration with Lingerfelt Commonwealth Partners to renovate a large facility here.

The renovation, which will be completed in March 2020, will create 320,000 square feet of warehouse space at 1537 Air Rail Ave., less than 15 miles from the port’s container terminals, company officials said Thursday.

The $6,225,000 in renovation costs will support overall infrastructure upgrades, technology enhancements, and new machinery. The company will also create 35 new jobs.

“With 75 percent of the U.S. population living within a two-day drive of Virginia, and all of the infrastructure improvements happening at the port, we wanted our customers to be able to take full advantage of this strategic gateway to American commerce,” said WDS SVP John Morrow.

The warehouse will be designed to fit the needs of retail, manufacturing, and food and beverage industries, equipped with high bay racking for high-value goods, 40 dock doors, 20,000 square feet of dedicated food grade space, ESFR sprinklers, and remotely monitored security cameras, officials said.

“Our new warehouse will feature a top tier Warehouse Management System (WMS) with RF scanning technology. Our WMS gives our clients 24/7/365 access to their inventory data, and seamlessly integrates with their ERP systems,” Morrow said. “What this means is that we can easily handle inventory management and order fulfillment services for our clients, and provide them with extremely accurate tracking, tracing, and reporting that fits their needs.”

To help with the renovation, WDS received a grant from the Virginia Beach Development Authority.

“This company will be nearly doubling its warehousing space [in Virginia], which speaks to its success and its expectations for the future,” said Taylor Adams, the city’s Economic Development director.

The VBDA approved an EDIP grant of $35,000 for WDS based on the number of new jobs it will create.

A World Distribution Services employee operates a forklift, receiving goods from an inbound truck at the current 180,000 square foot WDS facility in Norfolk. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of World Distribution Services)
A World Distribution Services employee operates a forklift, receiving goods from an inbound truck at the current 180,000 square foot WDS facility in Norfolk. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of World Distribution Services)

“We are very excited to be expanding our warehouse operations into Virginia Beach in 2020.  We wanted to bring high quality facilities close to the Port of Virginia to better serve our customers and to improve the work environment for our employees.  Thanks to the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development, we were able to find a facility that will meet both of those objectives,” said Duncan Wright, president of WDS.

WDS is a leading provider of creative supply chain solutions and offers strategic warehousing locations across the United States near most major East Coast and Gulf ports, company officials said.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.