Spartan Logistics buys South Carolina warehouse to keep Kroger.

Spartan Logistics has acquired a warehouse in Anderson, S.C., it had rented for five years as its lease came near an end. The Columbus-based third-party logistics operator had looked at other options to replace the 160,000-square-foot property, Spartan President Steve Harmon told me, because it wanted to stay in the “sweet spot” halfway between Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta for a contract with Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.

“We were willing to build,” he said, “or we were willing to buy.”

Harmon said building proved difficult because of construction costs.

“We could never recover the cost of developing as a (third-party) logistics company,” he said.

Finally, landlord Elston-Richards of Grand Rapids, Mich., relented. Spartan paid $3.3 million for the property.

“At the 11th hour,” Harmon said, “the landlord decided to sell to us.”

“It’s a little dated,” the executive told me of the 20-year-old property, “so we’ll put a little work into it.”

The Columbus-based logistics provider company financed the purchase through Farmers & Merchants State Bank of Archibold in northwest Ohio.

Spartan operates out of 400,000 square feet in the Carolinas and about 500,000 square feet in Columbus. It also has operations in other Ohio markets and two Indiana cities as well as Rock Hill, S.C., just outside Charlotte.

“I think the whole Southeast will continue to be a great market for us,” Harmon said.