After eight years in the far reaches of North Charleston, Limehouse Produce has purchased a 14-acre tract on Carner Avenue with an eye toward developing a new warehouse and company headquarters.
The relocation is the third significant move in the produce distributor’s 70-year history. Limehouse started as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler on Market Street.
In addition to renovating a 128,000-square-foot structure on the property that once served as the Government Employees Exchange (GEX), Limehouse will construct a 37,000-square-foot building. The larger building will be designed for “mixed tenant use,” while the smaller building will be devoted to Limehouse’s operations.
“I love the (GEX) building; it’s just not suitable for us,” Andrea Limehouse says. “We’ll clean it up and lease it.”
According to Limehouse, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey’s first job was at the GEX, where he stocked the shelves.
The planned warehouse isn’t significantly bigger than Limehouse’s current residence, but Andrea Limehouse says it will be customized to allow faster order fulfillment. “We’ve had to accommodate to the space we have,” she says, mentioning the limitations associated with just four dock doors.
One of the most attractive aspects of the land parcel was its proximity to downtown, Limehouse adds. The new facility is 11 miles closer to Limehouse’s core customer base. “The problem is the traffic,” Limehouse says. On Monday, it took Limehouse’s trucks about an hour to reach downtown.
Limehouse anticipates the project will be complete by early 2017.