Pods making its own move in Chattanooga

Company to lease 62,000-square-foot facility at Enterprise South

Moving and storage company Pods is nearly doubling its footprint in Chattanooga with its own relocation to Enterprise South industrial park as the company grows amid the sizzling housing market.

"Chattanooga is one of our popular markets," said Trent Brock, the brand communications manager for the Clearwater, Florida-based company. "It's one we're looking to increase operations in that area."

Pods plans to lease nearly 62,000 square feet in a new building slated for construction off Hickory Valley Road, he said. Brock said in a telephone interview that the new storage center is to open in about a year.

Pods, which takes its name from portable on-demand storage, operates a facility on Oakland Avenue in Alton Park. The new location will be 25,000 square feet larger, Brock said.

"We've just outgrown our existing facility on Oakland Avenue," he said about the site, which the company opened around 2013.

Nationally, Brock said Pods is benefiting from the fast-growing housing market.

"We're staying busy with the housing market the way it currently is and how crazy people are with that, wanting to relocate," he said.

The company typically delivers a container, which can range from 8 feet to 16 feet in length, to a driveway.

The company has 10 employees in Chattanooga, Brock said. The majority of those are local drivers who deliver and pick up customer containers Monday through Saturday, he said. Because the company doesn't offer fixed storage, the number of PODS customers in the Chattanooga area varies daily, Brock said.

A development group is building a 255,000-square-foot building at Enterprise South in Tyner in which Pods plans to move its local operations.

Chattanooga developer Jeff Londis' company, White Oak Enterprises, earlier partnered with Columbus, Ohio-based Tenby Partners, to create Chattanooga Industrial to build the new facility and another one close by.

Last year, Sese Industrial Services moved into a 300,000-square-foot plant built by Chattanooga Industrial. That company will assemble electric vehicle axle components for the new ID.4 SUVs to be assembled this summer at Volkswagen's assembly plant, also located in the industrial park. Spain-based Sese plans to employ about 240 people.

Site prep has started on a vacant 18-acre tract for Chattanooga Industrial's newest facility. Londis said his company already is in talks to fill the remaining 193,000 square feet of space not leased to PODS. He said the space could go to an auto-related venture or for a different kind of manufacturing or for warehouse or distribution space.

"We're in close contact with Volkswagen," he said about the nearly 4,000-employee production plant. "They know it's an alternative for a supplier."

Londis said in an earlier interview that the Sese project coupled with the newest one is expected to represent about $50 million in facilities, not counting equipment.

Brock said PODS selected Enterprise South due to the planned facility's spacing, outdoor space availability and an ability to install larger doors.

"There's also more space available as we plan to increase our overall operations in the Chattanooga area," he said. "It sets up Pods for the future in Chattanooga."

PODS was started in 1998 and pioneered portable storage, introducing a new, flexible way to move and store goods. Pods provides residential and commercial services in 46 states as well as in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, according to the company's website.

The Pods network has completed more than 1.4 million long-distance moves and over 6 million initial deliveries, according to the website.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.