By Ali Nicole

One of Wicomico County’s top private sector employers is set to expand their footprint. Chesapeake Shipbuilding, working with the McClellan Team of SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate, has secured expanded warehouse space to aid their continuously growing business in a conveniently located space, which has been in Salisbury for decades.

SVN Miller Commercial Real Estate announced in November that Chesapeake Shipbuilding would be using part of an upcoming multi-tenant industrial facility being developed from the old Campbell’s Soup building, which was closed in 1993 and has been used for various purposes since then. John McClellan, senior advisor, explains, “they were looking for more space to build more ships and needed more space for storage. The old Campbell’s Soup building is less than a mile away,” making it the ideal spot for a business that must operate on the water.

The construction corporation has a contract with American Cruise Lines to build ships for its fleet of a dozen 241-foot-long vessels, so Chesapeake Shipbuilding had a need for growth but minimal opportunity to do so until now. 

“Chesapeake Shipbuilding is one of Salisbury’s largest employers with little space to grow due to being on the river front,” McClellan shared. 

The McClellan team acted quickly to reach out to Bret Davis of Davis Strategic Development who had just taken ownership of the space to secure a lease for what Davis reports is 40,000 square feet of use as well as outside storage to support the booming business happening at Chesapeake. 

Chesapeake Shipbuilding was established in 1980 and continues to be a major source of local business development. Right here in Salisbury, quality vessels are built and then sailed across the globe. It’s easy to recognize the importance of such a major expansion so close to the shipyard’s 13-acre hub. 

“Chesapeake is awesome. We’re excited to see what they can do. They are growing leaps and bounds,” said Davis of having Chesapeake Shipbuilding move into the storage space. 

The new industrial storage space isn’t just occupied by Chesapeake Shipbuilding, Davis said, it’s already growing and he expects around 150,000 square feet to become available as they work on stabilizing the structure and making it into functional space. 

The long-term plan for this industrial space is re-development into a multi-functioning property, but Davis said that is likely a decade away.