Industrial Park Takes Shape in San Antonio

Traffic congestion around the Rittiman Road and Interstate 35 industrial parks and the promise of new manufacturing in South Bexar County is infusing the long-neglected axis of Interstate 10 East and Loop 410 with new life.

Cross & Co. is constructing a 188,000-square-foot distribution warehouse in the 297-acre Cornerstone Industrial Park, said company Vice President David Adelman. It's the first of 25 proposed buildings that total more than 4 million square feet in Cross' master plan.

"Realistically, we don't intend to build that much," Adelman said. "We think we'll be able to achieve 2 million (square feet) over 10 years. But it's a big park." Cross & Co. is raring to go on the next building.

"A user could feasibly occupy a new building in Cornerstone within seven months from the day the lease is signed," said Ryan Smith, leasing agent.

Cross purchased a 12.6-acre site to build the first warehouse, which will be complete in the first quarter of 2005, from Florida-based Cornerstone PIP III Ltd. Cross holds a long-term option with Cornerstone PIP on another 165 acres.

"Our goal is to build bulk warehouses, mainly for distribution or light manufacturing," Adelman said.

The Cornerstone Industrial Park has existed since the 1980s, but is mostly vacant land. The former Solo Serve headquarters, now occupied by Victory Packaging, is the industrial park's only building.

When industrial development revived following the savings and loan failures of the late 1980s, the park was overlooked in favor of sites in the northeast suburbs straddling Interstate 35.

"Real estate developers have steered clear of the property because of a perceived lack of access," Adelman said, "but that's a myth." Cornerstone is a designated foreign trade zone. Blake Hastings, executive director for the Free Trade Alliance San Antonio, said the efforts to revive trade zone industrial parks "is paramount in bringing national and international companies to San Antonio." The building under construction features 32-foot high ceilings, and parking depth at the tractor-trailer bays exceeds the 130 feet required by the longer modern rigs. The facility is designed for from two to six tenants, has a state-of-the-art fire control system and parking for 156 cars.