Hampton’s new E-Commerce Center is a high-tech one-stop facility for internet sellers to work, store and ship merchandise.
The three-story, 90,000-square-foot center has 70,000 square feet of storage and 15,000 square feet of office space with flexible leasing. Its official opening was planned for Nov. 4.
Leonard L. Sledge, Hampton’s director of economic development, said the project represents a solid redevelopment of an existing property.
“As a city that does not have much undeveloped land, seeing developers take a creative approach to maximize the value of their asset in a way that is beneficial to Hampton is exciting,” Sledge said.
The office spaces in the center are called Work/Place and offer a combination of services for small businesses including more than a dozen office spaces, dedicated desks, shared conference and meeting rooms, and temperature-controlled storage units ranging from 25 to 300 square feet with month-to-month lease terms.
An in-house UPS Store – one of the largest in the state – provides printing, order fulfillment and shipping.
Located at 1702 Todds Lane, the center is the brainchild of Peninsula businessman and entrepreneur Bobby Freeman who owned the gas station that was on the property. He is president of real estate development company Tower Park Corp. and developed Port Warwick in Newport News.
“This really is the shopping center of the 21st century,” Freeman said in a Daily Press article from March. “Retail is dramatically transforming itself right now.”
The collaborative design/build project included Newport News-based WM Jordan as general contractor and Newport News-based PMA Architects. Timmons Group of Virginia Beach provided survey, environmental and civil engineering services.
Timmons principal Mark Richardson said the E-Commerce Center represents what he believes there will be more of in the future as retail continues to change drastically.
“Big box stores have been struggling amid online competition and we are seeing a trend in retailers wanting smaller offices with larger storage spaces,” Richardson said. “The trend comes from consumers wanting ultra-convenience and instant gratification and this type of facility allows for that.”
Sledge said he does not believe traditional retail is going away but “at the same time, advancements in technology, global distribution networks, consumer behavior and more people desiring to be entrepreneurs will create a demand for more facilities like this,” Sledge said.
“Businesses must have an excellent online presence to compete in the global marketplace,” he said. “Even though they are very successful, I can think of small businesses in Hampton that could have benefited greatly from the E-Commerce Center as their businesses grew.”