Is the tradeport about to enter a new building phase?

Positive growth at the Pease International Tradeport continues to strengthen the Seacoast’s office and industrial sector.This growth and development is nothing new for the tradeport, an area that has been ever-expanding since its conversion from the Pease Air Force Base — which closed in 1989 – and its subsequent opening to the business community in 1992. What is new for the tradeport is the lack of large single-tenant second-generation space.Taking a step back, the Air Force base originally encompassed roughly 4,255 acres. When it was converted, the land was divided into a number of different areas. Four different zones of development were created, including a 797-acre airport zone, a 448-acre airport industrial zone, a 333-acre industrial zone and a 466-acre business/commercial zone.Additionally, 1,702 acres were set aside for a public airport and roughly 1,300 acres were set aside for the creation of the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge.For businesses, this space created an oasis of opportunity for both large and small companies. Over 1.5 million square feet has been developed, with building sizes ranging from Lonza’s 350,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to 100,000-square-foot office and manufacturing facilities to 100,000-square-foot multi-tenant office buildings.With the majority of the larger buildings built to suit roughly five to 10 years ago for single tenants, the tradeport has seen a number of these buildings come into the market as large subleases, such as, Flextronics’ three 100,000-square-foot buildings and Celestica’s 200,000-square-foot building.The spaces have come on the market after businesses have restructured for one reason or another. Over the past year, the majority of the spaces are no longer available, leaving a true shortage for those large businesses looking to settle in the tradeport.For example, Sig Sauer moving into the Celestica building. The 100,000 square feet originally built for Aprisma (now CA Technologies) has been multi-tenanted and completely leased. Westinghouse is occupying the former Burgon Tool Steel building. And the last Flextronics building could also be off the market with a pending deal that seems promising.For larger multinational firms that are used to an abundance of choices in other markets, the tradeport now tells another story. The next logical direction for these firms wanting to be on the Seacoast is committing to a build-to-suit with the few remaining buildable lots. It will be interesting to see how the remaining lots unfold and further strengthen the tradeport’s diversity for the Seacoast.Christian Stallkamp, an associate in the Portsmouth office of CBRE/New England, can be contacted at 603-570-2696.